June 2011 Archives

VIDEO: All-New 2012 Toyota Camry Teased

Earlier this week Toyota held its annual dealer meeting in Las Vegas. The all-new 2012 Toyota Camry was discussed during the meeting and although we don't have many details about the new Camry, Toyota has released a quick video of Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda discussing the 2012 Camry.

According to Akio Toyoda the 2012 Camry will be the "best Camry ever" and will "exceed your expectations." Toyota also states that the 2012 Camry will be less conservative than the past versions.

The all-new 2012 Toyota Camry launches this fall.

Check out the video after the jump.

Audi Quattro Concept's Fate to be Decided by this Fall

Audi has yet to come to a final decision about producing the Audi Quattro Concept despite reports that it has already received the green light. Quattro boss Stephan Reil has confirmed to Inside Line that a final decision has been delayed, but he is optimistic that the concept will be produced.

The final decision will not be decided until right before the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Audi has a target weight of 3,086 pounds, which would require the use of lots of exotic materials, which would jack up the price. Reil recently stated that the best solution would be "a small-volume exotic car with a production run of 500-1,000 cars."

The Quattro Concept borrowed its engine from the RS5, but according to Reil it would need more power than it currently puts out in the RS5 "and it needs to be mounted longitudinally instead of transversely." If the concept is finally given the green light, a production version would be ready in 2-3 years.

Holden Colorado Concept Debuts at the 2011 Melbourne Motor Show

Holden has unveiled its version of the Chevy Colorado Concept at the 2011 Melbourne Motor Show.

The Holden Colorado Concept is a preview of the Holden Colorado that is going to go on sale next year.

Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mike Devereux stated, "The Colorado show car is the biggest and brightest star on the Holden stage this year. Again, it showcases the Holden design talent and is more than a hint of what LCV customers can expect when it goes on sale next year. The next generation Colorado will be an important player in light commercial/pickup 4x4 segment which is up 11 per cent this year."

AC Schnitzer Modifies the 2012 BMW X3

AC Schnitzer has unveiled a range of accessories for the second generation BMW X3.

AC Schnitzer has developed a new aerodynamic kit for the X3, which includes a front spoiler, rear roof spoiler and chrome side skirts. Under the hood the 2.0L diesel-powered xDrive20d (Euro X3) gets a performance upgrade from 184 to 218 horsepower. Work is underway on a performance upgrade for the X3 xDrive30d as well. For the six-cylinder gas powered models, the xDrive28i and xDrive35i, AC Schnitzer is working on a stainless steel sports exhaust.

There are also new wheel options in sizes ranging from 18-inches all the way up to 22-inches.

The interior gets a new sports steering wheel and aluminum accents.

These accessories and modifications will have to hold you over until the BMW X3 M arrives.

Detroit's Big 3 has been criticized for years for focusing most of its attention on the truck and SUV market, leaving its car models uncompetitive. Well things are changing with new models like the Chevy Cruze and Ford Focus. GM has just announced that for the first time since 1991, car sales are now accounting for a higher percentage of Chevy's sales than all trucks, SUVs and crossovers combined.

Chevyt cars have outsold combined sales of trucks, crossovers and utilities in April, May and June of this year - and are expected to represent 47 percent of the brand's sales for the first half of 2011. The last time cars led Chevrolet's sales for three consecutive months was in May, June, and July of 1991. That year, cars represented 52 percent of Chevrolet sales.

"Chevrolet has always been known for building great trucks," said Alan Batey, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet Sales and Service. "Today, we are in the middle of transforming the brand with a strong lineup of cars that match the appeal of our trucks and crossovers.

2012 Range Rover Evoque Starts at $43,995

Land Rover has announced the pricing for the 2012 Range Rover Evoque, which starts st $43,995 for the five-door and $44,995 for the coupe version.

According to Land Rover, the 2012 Range Rover Evoque is the lightest and most fuel efficient Range Rover ever. The Evoque gets 28 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in the city.

Land Rover states, "Weight saving was a primary objective in the development of the
Range Rover Evoque, and engineers have applied a range of advanced lightweight materials to make this the lightest Range Rover model ever, with the five-door starting at just 3,680lbs (1,680 kg)***. Weight-saving technologies can be found throughout the bodyshell and chassis of the Range Rover Evoque, including a steel body structure with over 18%*** Boron/high strength steels in key load-bearing areas. Additional features include polymer and composite front fenders and tailgate, an aluminum hood, roof panels, front lower control arms and front/rear suspension knuckles, and a magnesium cross car beam."

The 2012 Range Rover Evoque is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged engine that's been borrowed from Ford. It puts out 240 horsepower mated to a six-speed transmission. The Coupe and Five-Door models are available in Pure, Prestige and Dynamic trim levels.

2011 Toyota Prius Gets New PLUS Performance Package

No one would ever label the Toyota Prius as "sporty", but Toyota is attempting to add some "sport" into the Prius with the introduction of the PLUS Performance Package. The Prius PLUS Performance Package features components of the new PLUS hybrid performance line from Toyota Racing Development (TRD).

The PLUS Performance Package will only be available in limited numbers and buyers get to choose between Blizzard Pearl, Classic Silver Metallic, Black and Winter Gray Metallic exterior colors. The package comes with a seven-piece aerodynamic ground effects kit that also includes front and rear bumper spoilers, sleek side skirts and a uniquely styled rear diffuser. 17-inch forged alloy wheels are mated to low profile 215/45R17 tires attempt to make the Prius look sportier and track-tuned lowering springs lower the vehicle 1.1 inches in the front and 1.3 inches in the rear. A rear sway bar has also been added.

The PLUS Perfomance Package adds 3,699 to the price of the Prius Two, Three, and Four models and $2,999 to the Prius Five.

Toyota Plans Heavy Media Blitz for the All-New 2012 Camry

Toyota is going to release an all-new 2012 Camry and Camry Hybrid this fall. At the company's annual dealer meeting, which recently took place in Las Vegas, Toyota released some of the details it has for the new Camry.

Toyota is planning a major media blitz for the all-new Camry, which has been the best-selling car for years in the US. According to The Wall Street Journal part of the new media blitz will be 40 new commercials that will claim that the 2012 Camry is "smart, safe and worry-free." Toyota hasn't released anything about the design of the next Camry, other than the claim that it will be less conservative.

Toyotareleased this statement about the new Camry, "Designed to meet the changing needs of the 21st Century driver, the new Camry will provide technologically advanced features, a contemporary design inside and out, improved performance and refined ride and handling."

In addition to the new Camry, Toyota also told dealers that its planning 20 new or redesigned models by 2013 including the production version of the Prius C concept, a new Avalon and the upcoming Scion FR-S rear-wheel-drive coupe.

Lotus Plans a 212 MPH Esprit Superleggera

Lotus is reportedly working on a "Superleggera" version of the upcoming 2013 Lotus Esprit supercar. The Esprit Superleggera is expected to be one of Britain's fastest and most powerful production cars. Take that Aston Martin and McLaren!

Chief technical officer Wolf Zimmermann recently told Auto Express about the plans to build a flagship Superleggera version of the next-generation Esprit. The Superleggera will be the fourth model in the Esprit range and will be sold alongside the coupe, convertible and glass-roofed Targa versions.

Zimmerman claims that the Superleggera will not be a stripped-out racer version of the Esprit, but a carefully designed evolution of the standard Esprit. It's expected to reach 0-60 mph in less than three seconds and have a top speed of 212 mph.

Aston Martin Secures Funding for its Next-Gen Models

It's being reported that Aston Martin has secured the funding it needs for its next-generation of sports cars that are expected to debut in 2015.

Engineers are already hard at work on the new models, which have been conceptualized and will replace the DB9, Vantage and Rapide models. Funding was finalized last week when Aston Martin announced that a £304 million bond was fully subscribed by global investors.

Aston Martin is reportedly seeking a new partner for its new platform that will replace the VH-platform in which the DB9, Vantage and Rapide are based on. It's being reported that Aston Martin is currently in talks with Mercedes-Benz about the platform that is the basis for the Mercedes-Benz SLS and SL models.

The BMW i8 prototype, which is BMW's upcoming plug-in hybrid is starring in the next Mission Impossible movie, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. The first official trailer for Mission Impossible 4 has been released and you can see BMW's prototype in a few shots as well as the new BMW 6 Series convertible.

Check out the trailer after the jump.

Fast and Furious 6 to Hit Theaters in May 2013

Yup you read that right, another Fast and the Furious movie is in the works. NBC Universal has announced that the sixth movie in the series is slated to be released in May 2013. The actual date is May 24, 2013.

It's not surprising that the studio is releasing a sixth installment, since the fifth movie Fast Five was a big success this past April by posting the biggest opening weekend in the studio's history. Fast Five is expected to pass $600 million at the worldwide box office.The sixth movie, which has yet to have an official name, is being written by Chris Morgan, who also wrote the last three films.

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are expected to make a return for the sixth installment, which according to the studio will be "their most dangerous adventure yet."

2011 Infiniti EX35 Named IIHS "Top Safety Pick"

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given the 2011 Infiniti EX35 a "Top Safety Pick" rating. The rating is given to vehicles that get the Institute's highest rating of "Good" in front, rear and side impact protection, are equipped with electronic stability control, and earn a good rating in roof strength.

"Infiniti is proud to receive another Top Safety Pick rating from IIHS," said Infiniti Americas Vice President Ben Poore. "Like all Infiniti vehicles, the 2011 Infiniti EX35 luxury crossover is designed to offer owners a strong sense of peace of mind, whether from its exhilarating driving performance, engaging interior environment, advanced technology or long list of standard safety features."

BMW to Release Six-Cylinder 2012 640i in the US

BMW has already announced the 2012 650i Convertible and Coupe models. It was originally believed that the only version available would be the twin-turbo V8 powered 650i model, but Autoblog has learned that BMW plans on releasing a less expensive 640i model.

For those buyers that can't quite afford the entry price for the 650i or that don't need a V8 under the hood, BMW is going to offer the 640i, which is powered by BMW's turbocharged 3.0L six-cylinder engine. The 640i will be able by the end of the year. It's also being reported that BMW is going to release an all-wheel-drive version of the 650i.

Audi is releasing a limited number of limited edition Audi R8 supercars to celebrate its win at that 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Audi R8 V8 Limited Edition is unfortunately only available in the UK and Audi only plans on producing 100 units.

The Audi R8 V8 Limited Edition gets new titanium-effect paintwork, titanium finish 19-inch '5-arm double-spoke Y design' alloy wheels and embellished by red brake calipers. The Limited Edition model also gets satellite navigation, the Audi Music Interface (AMI), an interior light package and a premium Bang and Olufsen sound system. Audi's magnetic ride adaptive suspension system is also standard.

The Audi R8 V8 Limited Edition is powered by a 414-hp 4.2L V8. It reaches 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds and has a top speed of 187 mph.

Toyota has issued a voluntary safety recall of certain 2006-2007 model year Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX 400h vehicles.

According to Toyota the Intelligent Power Module (IPM) located inside the Hybrid System Inverter contains a control board with transistors. Certain transistors on the control boards in some of the subject vehicles were inadequately soldered and could be damaged from heat caused by a large current flow during high-load driving. If this were to occur the worst thing that could happen is that the power supply circuit fuse could blow and the hybrid will coast to a stop.

Toyota is currently obtaining the necessary replacement parts and will notify owners in mid July.

300-HP Audi Q3 RS is Reportedly in the Works

Audi has yet to confirm if its newest and smallest crossover, the 2012 Audi Q3 will be headed to the US, but there are already reports that Audi is working on a high-performance version, dubbed the Q3 RS. 2012_audi_Q3_new_fr4.jpg

The latest reports claim that an Audi Q3 RS is slated for a release in Europe by the fall of 2012. The Audi Q3 RS is expected to be powered by the same 300 horsepower turbocharged 2.5L engine as the TT RS and RS3. In addition to the more powerful engine, the Q3 RS will also get suspension upgrades and some styling updates.

If the Q3 does ever come to the US, lets hope the Q3 RS does as well...

Bruce Wayne is going to get a new ride in the next Batman flick, The Dark Knight Rises. lamborghini_aventador_batman_2.jpg In Batman: The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne got to drive the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640, but in the next movie the Lamborghini Aventador will be his new ride.

A forum member over at Luxury 4 Play managed to catch the Aventador on the set of the next Batman movie, during filming in Los Angeles. The Dark Knight Rises is expected to hit theaters next summer.

VIDEO: BMW 1 Series M Coupe Drifts on a Helipad in LA

BMW 1 Series M Coupe_helipad.png
BMW has released a video of the BMW 1 Series M Coupe atop the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles. Not only is the 1 Series M Coupe sitting on top of the tallest building in California, but the video shows the 1 Series M Coupe drifting on the circular helipad.

Check out the video after the jump.

Scion Announces 2012 tC Pricing and Introduces the tC RS 7.0

Scion has announced the changes to the 2012 tC and the introduction of the first release series for the second-generation tC, the 2012 tC Release Series 7.0 (tC RS 7.0).

The 2012 tC Release Series 7.0 comes exclusively in High Voltage yellow exterior contrasting black side view mirrors and black 18-inch alloy wheels. The tC RS 7.0 also gets a TRD body kit that includes front and rear lower valences and side skirts. The front bumper incorporates a honeycomb lower grille that is unique to this Release Series.

The High Yellow exterior color is also featured in the interior with the tC's black and 2012_Scion_tC_RS_7.0_5.jpgyellow seat fabric and leather wrapped steering wheel with yellow stitching. The tC RS 7.0 also gets a Smart Key system, which includes a red TRD push-button start and doors that unlock with the touch of the door handle.

Scion is only going to produce 2,200 units of the tC RS 7.0 with a starting price at $20,905 for the manual and $21,905 for the model equipped with the automatic transmission.

Scion has also made some additions to the standard 2012 tC with an all-new standard 300-watt Pioneer audio sustem and standard Bluetooth. There is also an optional 340-watt Pioneer audio system with a 5.8-inch LCD touch-screen display.

The 2012 tC equipped with a six-speed manual transmission is $18,575, and $19,575 when equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission.

TopGear USA Returns on July 24th

Fans of TopGear USA can celebrate because the History channel has announced the show's second season will start on July 24th.

Top Gear USA's hosts: Tanner Foust, Adam Ferrara and Rutledge Wood are back!

The first episode of the new season starts on July 24th at 10/9c.

The 17th season of the British version of the show kicked off this week.

Mulliner Enhances the 2012 Bentley Continental GT

Bentley's Mulliner has created a set of carbon fiber additions for the 2012 Bentley Continental GT.

Raul Pires, Bentley's head of exterior design stated, ""The Mulliner Styling Specification, bentley_continental_GT_mulliner_2.jpg with its sharper lines and darker, lower appearance subtly underscores the extrovert, flamboyant nature of our new Coupe. It delivers a more personalised, sportive interpretation of a luxurious, refined GT."

The Mulliner Styling Specification's Classic Pack includes a unique front bumper splitter, strakes integrated into the front intake grilles, side extension blades and a rear diffuser, all made from high-gloss, black carbon-fiber.hese are complemented by a range of individual design options, comprising black, carbon-fiber rear spoiler and door mirror cowls as well as distinctive, black-painted 21-inch 'Elegant' alloy wheels and dark mesh front wing vents with black carbon-fiber bezels.

2012 BMW X5 Recalled Due to Belt Tensioner Issue

BMW has announced a new recall for some 2012 BMW X5 models equipped with the diesel engine. The recall covers the 2012 X5 XDrive35D models that were built between March 31, 2011 and May 19, 2011.

The issue with the affected vehicles is a manufacturing error at the supplier, the welds in the belt tensioner could have incipient cracks. Overtime this could lead to a malfunction of the belt tensioner, resulting in a loss of power steering and possible accident.

Dealers will replace the belt tensioner free of charge.

Rolls-Royce has presented the one-off Masterpiece London 2011 Phantom Drophead Coupe in Goodwood, England.

The model was created for Masterpiece London 2011 and was designed to capture the essence of a perfect weekend get-away, offering drivers and their passengers the rolls_royce_phantom_drophead_coupe_masterpiece_3.jpgultimate luxurious and relaxing experience in roof-down motoring. The Masterpiece London 2011 Drophead Coupe hosts a suite of additional bespoke design details, including teak decking, engraved tread plates and Spirit of Ecstasy with inscription that marks the centenary of the world's most famous bonnet icon.

Inside the Drophead Coupe gets a one-off jewelry box that lives in the glove compartment that is designed to hold rings, cufflinks and earrings. The coupe also comes with bespoke luggage that includes four cases.

The Masterpiece London 2011 Drophead Coupe is also the first Rolls-Royce to be presented in Mazarine Blue, a bespoke finish that joins a palette of 44,000 shades already available to clients ordering Phantom models.

2012 BMW M5 Gets Unofficial 7:55 Lap Time on the Nürburgring

The Nürburgring is regarded as one of the best places to test the potential of an automaker's vehicles. The all-new 2012 BMW M5 is now the latest model to hit the track and according to fastestlaps, the BMW M5 finished a lap in 7:55.

An unofficial time of 7:55 places the 2012 BMW M5 in the number 70 spot, with the 70th fastest time on the track. That means the M5 beats out models like the Porsche Panamera Turbo and Cadillac CTS-V.

Nissan Announces New Aggressive Six-Year Business Plan

Nissan announced a new plan called Nissan Power 88, which includes a new aggressive six-year business plan. The new business plan starts immediately and goes until 2016.

"Nissan Power 88 is the roadmap for our company's profitable growth," said Nissan President and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn. "We will accelerate our growth, bringing more innovation and excitement to our products and services as well as cleaner, more affordable cars for everyone around the world, in line with the energy and environmental challenges of the 21st century."

Power 88 has the goal of achieving a global market share of 8% and increase its corporate operating profit to a sustainable 8% by 2016. Nissan's extended new product plan will deliver, on average, an all-new vehicle every six weeks for six years. The company's global portfolio will have 66 vehicles and will cover 92% of all markets and segments.

In 2012, Nissan will have a production capacity of 1.2 million units in China. China has become - and will continue to be - Nissan's largest single global market. Nissan aims for a 10% share of the Chinese market. Nissan will also increase its presence in Brazil, Russia and India, as well as in the next wave of emerging markets.

2012 Audi A6 Online Configurator Launches...

Audi's all-new 2012 Audi A6 is officially here and you can build it the exact way you want it on Audi's USA website.

Prices for the 2012 A6 start at $41,700 for the A6 equipped with the 211-horsepower 2.0L TFSI engine, but can easily jump to over $70k for the fully equipped 310-hp 3.0L V6 A6 if you check off all the boxes.

GM Announces 2012 Transformers Special Edition Camaro Coupe

The Chevy Camaro, the star of the Transformers series, makes a return this week in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which opens this week. To celebrate the launch, GM has announced a 2012 Transformers Special Edition Camaro Coupe to Bumblebee fans in the United States, Canada, China, Japan, Europe, South America, and the Middle East.

"The Transformers franchise has helped introduce Camaro - and Chevrolet - to a whole 2012_Transformers_Chevy_Camaro_Interior.jpg new generation of fans," said Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. "Its role in the films helped make the Camaro the best-selling sports car in America, and one of the best-known cars of any kind around the world."

The 2012 Transformers Special Edition will be offered as a $3,000 package on 2LT and 2SS Camaro Coupes with Rally Yellow paint. The Transformers edition adds content in addition to the RS package including black rally stripes hat stretch over the hood, roof, decklid and unique high-wing rear spoiler; 20-inch, black-painted wheels wrapped in high-performance summer tires; and Autobot Shield logos on the center caps and front quarter panels.

Chevy Reportedly Working on a Two-Door Cruze

The Chevy Cruze has been a huge success for GM. It was even the best-selling small car in May, which obviously was due to a lack of supply from Toyota and Honda. But to keep the momentum going, GM is reportedly working on a two-door Cruze.

The reports aren't surprising, since GM did have coupe versions of the Cruze's predecessors, the Cobalt and Cavalier. Nothing has been officially confirmed, but it's being reported that development is under way and that the coupe will be produced at GM's Orion, Michigan, the same plant that builds the Sonic.

Right now GM is focusing on producing the new Sonic, so officials are ignoring any direct questions about the two-door Cruze.

Chrysler's Fiat-Based Small Car is Almost Here...

Chrysler is in desperate need of a competitive small car that will compete with competitors like the Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra. The Dodge Caliber just simply doesn't cut it. Help is on the way thanks to Fiat. 2011_alfa_romeo_giulietta_new_fr3.jpg

Chrysler is currently working on a new compact car for the Dodge brand that is going to be released in the first quarter of 2012. The new Dodge compact car is expected to be based on Fiat's new C-Evo platform, which is also the basis for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and the next Fiat Bravo. The Dodge compact car will be powered by a 1.4L engine that could put out up to 165 horsepower and will be mated to a six-speed dual clutch transmission. The car should get 40 mpg on the highway.

Tooling for the small car is expected to kick off at Chrysler's Belvidere, Illinois plant in August and will most likely get our first look at the new Dodge compact at the LA Auto Show in November. A new name has been picked for the Dodge, but it hasn't been revealed.

Honda Announces the All-New 2012 CR-V...But...

Honda has announced what we've known for months... Honda is going to release an all-new CR-V for the 2012 model year.

Honda has already set up it's new site for the CR-V, but what's there? Not much.

"With a new design--both inside and out, new features and new possibilities, the 2012 CR-V will set a new standard for the class. As a top-selling crossover for over five years, expectations for the 2012 CR-V are high and we're confident they will not only be met, but exceeded."

It's already been announced that the 2012 CR-V will be delayed by a month or so due to the devastating earthquake in Japan. We should know more in the coming months...

2013 Cadillac ATS Leaked via GM?

The guys over at GMInsideNews have managed to capture a shot of what looks to be the chassis of the upcoming 2013 Cadillac ATS. GMI's Elvisuperman was able to capture a screen shot of the sedan, which apparently appears in a video when you first visit GM.com.

This shot reveals the basic chassis of the new rear-wheel-drive sedan. Comparing this shot with the spy photos of the ATS seems to confirm that this is indeed our first view of the new ATS.

Cadillac's 3-Series fighter is expected to be released at the end of 2012 as a 2013 model. It's rumored that the ATS-V is going to be powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6.

Hyundai is Reportedly Working on a Five-Door Veloster

The 2012 Hyundai Veloster currently has one door for the driver, two on the passenger side of the vehicle and the rear hatch. According to a Hyundai executive that spoke with Carsales, Hyundai is working on a version of the Veloster that will have two doors on each side of the vehicle.

Eunjoo Shin, Manager for the Overseas Product Planning Team at Hyundai, recently confirmed the more conventional model. This is the first time that Hyundai has admitted that another version of the Veloster is in the works.

Sales of the 2012 Veloster will kick off later this year.

VIDEO: Scion Racing Driver Talks up the Scion FR-S Concept

Scion is giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the Scion FR-S concept car with Scion Racing drive Ken Gushi.

In this video Ken Gushi talks up the Scion FR-S concept. He currently races a 2009 tC, but started his career behind the wheel of a Toyota AE86.

Check out the video after the jump.

GM Unveils Chevy Beat Electric Vehicle in India

Today GM unveiled the Chevy Beat Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) in India. The Beat EV is being used by GM to showcase the effectiveness of battery electric vehicle technology in India.

The Beat EV is powered by a 300 cell lithium-ion battery and it has a rance of 81 miles and takes about eight hours to recharge using a 240-volt outlet. The electric motor puts out 60 horsepower and the power is transferred to the ground via a single speed drive unit.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Karl Slym, President & Managing Director, General Motors India said, "General Motors is committed to providing customers around the world with electrification technologies that will reduce their fuel consumption, helping them save money. GM India will lead in this 'tailored for India' demo program for battery electric technology, with Chevrolet Beat chosen as the best way to evaluate the technology. We are delighted that Chevrolet selected India as an important market to test battery electric technology, while recognizing the capabilities of our engineering team to help identify ways to make this technology more affordable."

BMW has unveiled yet another special edition M3, the M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology). As the name states it, this special edition M3 uses a large amount of carbon fiber.

The M3 CRT is powered by a 450 horsepower 4.4L V8 and 0-62 mph comes in only 4.4 seconds. To shave pounds off the standard M3, the M3 CRT features a body consisting entirely of CFRP in the passenger cell area. Unlike the M3 GTS, the M3 CRT still has all of the stuff that you would expect in a standard BMW like navigation and a high end audio system.

Excited about heading down to your local BMW dealer to pick up one? Well of course its very limited and BMW is only planning on producing 67 units.

GM recently took the 2012 Chevy Corvette Z06 to the famed Nürburgring in which the Corvette managed to complete a lap in only 7:22.68, which was 20 seconds faster than the old record. 2012_chevrolet_corvette_centennial_edition_z06.jpg

Corvette engineer Jim Mero was behind wheel and posted a time that was just 3 seconds off the record-setting time Mero recently recorded in the 2012 ZR1.

The 2012 Corvette Z06 gets improvements like the addition of "competition-oriented" Michelin Pilot Sport Cup Zero Pressure tires. The tires are matched with all-new aluminum Cup-style wheels in satin black or machined finishes.

Check out the video after the jump.

2012 Ram HD Pickups Get New Six-Speed Auto Transmission

Chrysler has just announced that its 2012 Ram Heavy-Duty trucks will be available with a new six-speed automatic transmission.

The Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups are powered by either a 5.7L HEMI V8 or a 6.7L six-cylinder Cummins Turbo Diesel and both can be mated to the new six-speed transmission. The standard 5.7L puts out 383 horsepower and 400 lb-ft. of torque. The 6.7L six-cylinder diesel impresses with its 350 horsepower and massive 800 lb-ft. of torque at only 1,500 rpm.

This weekend kicks off the Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race and Aston Martin is headed to the race with its V12 Zagato.

Aston Martin is going to be be competing with a pair of V12 Zagatos that are nicknamed "Zag." The first red Zagato will be driven by Aston Martin CEO, Dr. Ulrich Bez, Nurburgring Test Centre Director, Wolfgang Schuhbauer and automotive journalists Horst von Saurma and Matthew Marsh.

The second, green Zagato will be driven by One-77 Chief Engineer Chris Porritt, sports car driver Oliver Mathai, amateur racer Peter Cate, and automotive journalist Richard Meaden.

Check out the video after the jump.

Aston Martin Teams Up with Colette to Create Custom Cygnet

Aston Martin has teamed up with French fashion label, colette to create a limited edition Cygnet of just 14 units, dubbed the "Cygnet & colette."

The limited edition Cygnet comes in a Lightning Silver color with colette blue detailing, a brown leather interior and diamond turned wheels.

"The colette car is the first of the exclusive 'Cygnet &' collaborations," said Aston Martin Director of Design, Marek Reichman. "These cars will give Aston Martin a relevant platform to reach out to new customers in urban areas."

Pricing starts at €48,995.

Top Gear's 17th season starts next week on June 26th. Here's a second teaser trailer of what we can expect in the new season.

This teaser commercial previews a test of the McLaren MP4-12C against the Ferrari 458 Italia, a Fiat 500C Abarth and the Aston Martin Virage burns some rubber on the track.

Check out the second teaser of Top Gear's 17th season after the jump.

2012 Buick LaCrosse Officially Gets 303-HP 3.6L V6

GM has officially announced that the 2012 Buick LaCrosse is getting a new more powerful V6, in the form of a 303-hp 3.6L V6. The 3.6L V6 puts out 23 more horsepower than the last V6 without any penalties at the pump. The 3.6L V6 gets 17 mpp city and 27 mpg highway. 2012_Buick_LaCrosse_3.6LV6_new.jpg

"The changes we've made to the 3.6L V-6 represent greater refinements to an already well-balanced package," said Tom Sutter, global V-6 chief engineer. "We are using the latest designs, lighter-weight components and enhancements to improve the engine's performance, efficiency and durability."

The 3.6L V6 is lighter and more powerful than the old V6 thanks to a new cylinder head design, which has a revised intake port design that enhances airflow to the combustion chambers. Larger-diameter intake valves in the heads and new, longer-duration intake camshafts help provide the engine's boost in horsepower.

The V6 is available as a no cost alternative to the standard 2.4L four-cylinder engine with eAssist.

By now you should have seen the 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe, which was officially unveiled this week but you will get an even better look at the new Mini coupe if you're attending this year's Nürburgring 24-hour race.

The Mini John Cooper Works Coupé Endurance racer will line up at this year's 24-hour race at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit. The John Cooper Works Coupé Endurance racer starts with the 2012 Mini John Cooper Works Coupe, but is prepped for use on the track. The racer is powered by the same 1.6L engine as the other Mini Cooper Coupes, but its final output has been bumped up to 250 horsepower, from the 208-hp in the standard Mini John Cooper Works Coupe.

The racer is now even more like a "go cart" with its stiffened suspension and adjustable shock absorber units allow the suspension set-up to be adapted to fluctuating track conditions. Inside the seats have been replaced by a sports bucket seat with six-point safety belt and Formula One-style HANS (Head And Neck Support) system. A roll cage that is welded to the body has also been added.

The race starts this weekend...

Toyota is set to unveil a new convertible sports hybrid concept at the Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race taking place this weekend. The GRMN Hybrid Concept II was co-developed with Gazoo Racing and is an updated version of the sports concept shown at Tokyo Auto Salon in 2010.

The convertible concept features a mid-engined petrol-electric hybrid system mated to all-wheel-drive. The powertrain consists of a 245-hp 3.5L V6 gas engine and transmission that are mounted mid-ship and drive the rear wheels. A 50-hp electric motor sits up front and sends its power to the front wheels.

Don't count on seeing this in showrooms anytime soon.

US-Spec Ford Ranger Production to End in December

The Ford Ranger has been on life support for quite a while with Ford publicly confirming that the small pickup was eventually going to be dead in the US. Well the UAW has confirmed that the US-spec Ford Ranger will stop being produced this December.

December 22, 2011 is the last day that the Ford Ranger will be produced at Ford's Twin Cities assembly plant. The Ford Ranger has been produced since January 1982 and since then more than 7 million have been produced.

Ford has yet to announce a direct replacement for the Ranger in the US, but the Ford F-150 powered by the 3.7L V6 will be the closest we will get to a replacement for the Ranger. Ford has unveiled an all-new Ranger for markets outside the US, but no plans have been announced to bring it here.

VIDEO: 2012 VW Beetle Shows up in Britney Spears - I Wanna Go

Britney Spears new video for "I Wanna Go" has just premiered and starring in the video is none other than the 2012 VW Beetle. Britney_Spears_2012_VWBeetle_2.png

Apparently even though the 2012 Beetle is aiming to be sportier and more appealing to a "male" audience, VW is still remaining true to its popstar-loving audience.

Check out the full video after the jump.

Land Rover Mulling Range Rover "Grand Evoque"

Land Rover is currently deciding whether it needs to add a fourth model to the Range Rover lineup. Land Rover is trying to decide if a new vehicle is needed to bridge the gap between the Range Rover Evoque and the Range Rover Sport.

According to insiders a new model, dubbed the "Grand Evoque" is being considered, which would take the Evoque's sporty design and apply to a more family friendly SUV. The new model would keep the Evoque's coupe-like styling, but would be closer in size to the BMW X6. The "Grand Evoque" would be based on the same LR-MS platform as the Evoque, but would be stretched by as much as 12 inches to increase rear legroom and storage space in the back. A third-row seat is unlikely, since designers are keen on keeping the coupe-like roofline from the Evoque.

The fourth Range Rover would also be offered in both front and all-wheel-drive versions with a choice of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines.

There is also word that this platform could be used for the basis of a new Jaguar crossover.

Nissan recently announced that the 2011 Nissan Altima Hybrid would not be available as a 2012 model, which effectively ends its hybrid relationship with Toyota. The current Altima Hybrid uses a hybrid system supplied by Toyota. Now it's being reported that Nissan is currently developing a front-wheel-drive version of its in-house hybrid system for the next-generation Altima.

The new hybrid system is going to be based off the rear-wheel-drive hybrid system that debuted in the 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid. The system will be a one-motor, two-clutch system with a four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission. The Altima Hybrid will also get lithium-ion batteries.

Nissan apparently believes that a hybrid system is the best way to increase the fuel economy in its larger cars. Nissan has failed to comment on the reports, but could a Nissan Maxima hybrid also be in the works?

Mini Roadster to be Released in Early 2012

Now that Mini has officially unveiled the Cooper Coupe, the next model to be released is the roadster version. The Mini Roadster is expected to launch in Europe early next year and in the US shortly after that.

The Mini Roadster will basically be the identical to 2009_mini_roadster_concept_new_2.jpg the Cooper Coupe, with the main difference being the lightweight fabric roof that will fold flat behind the two seats. Expect the same 1.6L engines as the Cooper Coupe.

Later next year the production version of the Mini Paceman is expected to debut, which is basically a coupe version of the Mini Countryman crossover.

Ford to Invest $1 Billion in Lincoln to Revive the Brand

According to Lincoln dealers, Ford is going to invest about $1 billion in new Lincoln models by 2014 to help bring the brand back to life.

Lincoln, which has sold less than 35,000 vehicles in the first five months of this year is in desperate need of new models that are further differentiated from Ford's models. Ford CEO Alan Mulally recently met with Lincoln dealers to assure them that Ford remains committed to the brand. Sales are down 7.5 percent this year.

Last year Ford did promise hat Lincoln would get seven new or significantly upgraded models over the next four years, but we have yet to see anything. The first new models are expected this fall when new MKS and MKT models are expected to debut.

Lincoln spokesman Timothy Elliott told The Detroit News, "We're fully committed to making Lincoln a world-class luxury brand with compelling vehicles and an exceptional consumer experience to match."

Not everyone is convinced it will work. GM CEO Dan Akerson recently stated this about Ford's efforts to fix Lincoln, "You might as well sprinkle holy water. It's over."

It's being predicted that Ford will release a new compact sedan based off the Ford Focus and a new compact crossover in 2013 as a 2014 model. Will these new models help?

Last November Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed that a Maserati SUV was in the works that would be produced at Chrysler's Jefferson North plant in Detroit. Now Top Gear has received more info on Maserati's first SUV.

According to one of Top Gear's sources the Maserati SUV is going to be based on the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, but its styling will be so different that you won't be able to make the connection. It will Maserati's trademark front end with a "wavy waistline."

The big news is what will power the Maserati SUV. It's not getting a Ferrari engine, instead it will be Chrysler's HEMI V8. Kinda makes sense, since the SUV is based on a Chrysler platform. The HEMI engine already fits the Jeep Grand Cherokee platform and a Ferrari engine isn't necessarily cheap to buy.

The Maserati SUV will not be quite as off-road focused as the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The suspension will be a sophisticated independent system with adaptive damping front and rear. There won't be any air springs.

The Maserati SUV is expected to arrive in late 2013 as a 2014 model.

Consumer Reports: Chrysler's Vehicles Are Getting Better

Is Chrysler finally doing something right? Well according to Consumer Reports it is. Consumer Reports recently tested eight Chrysler vehicles and at the end came to the conclusion that the automaker's cars are getting better.

According to CR the Dodge Durango and Charger have improved the most. The Durango received "Very Good" road test scores, which makes it comparable to the 2011 Ford Explorer, but it still scores below the Toyota Highlander and Chevy Traverse. The Charger Rallye also received a "Very Good" score, which ranks it closer to the Ford Taurus and Buick LaCrosse.

The Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans also earned a "Very Good" score.

"It's clear that Chrysler is on the right path, but they still have a long way to go," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center in East Haddam, CT. "We see major improvements for models that have had a significant redesign. When Chrysler invests the time and money in a true redesign, the result has been a much more competitive model."

Not all of Chrysler's models have improved. CR's testers were unimpressed by the 200, Avenger, Compass, Journey, and Patriot. Their improvements did not improve their overall score.

Jeremy Clarkson Hates the New 2012 VW Beetle...

VW unveiled the all-new 2012 Beetle two months ago and the immediate response seemed to be "it's better than the last one!" VW has decided to add a lot more "sport" into the 2012 Beetle than ever before. It's even available with the same engine as the VW GTI, but that isn't enough to convince the Top Gear crew and Jeremy Clarkson...

Clarkson's main criticism with the new Beetle is that it isn't sporty and even if VW claims the new Beetle is sporty, "There has never been a sporty Beetle. Not even Herbie. He wasn't sporty. He was just speeded up."

The 2012 VW Beetle is far "sportier" than the last one, but do you agree with Clarkson? Do you think anyone will care about the new Beetle?

VIDEO: 2012 BMW M5 Hits the Track

Last week BMW officially unveiled the all-new 2012 BMW M5. For those of us that are in love with the new M5, here's a short video of the awesome sedan doing some laps on the track.

The 2012 M5 is powered by a turbocharged 4.4L V8 that puts out 560 horsepower and 502 lb-ft. of torque. It reaches 0-62 mph in 4.4 seconds and has a top speed up to 190 mph.

Sales of the 2012 BMW M5 are going to kick off this fall.

Check out the video after the jump.

Yesterday Mini officially unveiled the 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe. Now we have more information today, including the official pricing and the first video of Mini's new coupe.

The base 2012 Cooper Coupe starts at $22,000 and is powered by a naturally-aspirated 1.6L four-cylinder engine that puts out 121 horsepower and 118 lb-ft. of torque. It reaches 0-60 mph in 8.3 seconds and has a top speed of 127 mph.

Moving up to the Cooper S Coupe will cost you $25,300, but that model is powered by a more potent turbocharged version of the base Cooper's 1.6L engine with 181 horsepower and 177 lb-ft. of torque. The torque can be increased up to 192 lb-ft. using the overboost feature. The Cooper S Coupe reaches 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds and has a top speed of 142 mph.

The top of the line John Cooper Works Coupe starts at $31,900 and is powered by the same 1.6L engine, but horsepower is now at 208 horsepower. It reaches 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds and has a top speed of 149 mph.

Check out the video and all the pics after the jump. The 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe arrives this fall.

Chevy Aveo RS to be Produced as the 2013 Chevy Sonic RS

Before GM officially unveiled the successor the unloved Chevy Aveo, GM gave us a preview of its new subcompact with the Chevy Aveo RS concept. The concept was far sportier than anything wearing the "Aveo" name before it. The Aveo RS concept was powered by a 138-hp turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder. Well as you now know, the Aveo badge didn't make it onto the rear end of the new Chevy small car and instead it received a new name, the Chevy Sonic. chevrolet_aveo_rs_concept_new_rear.jpg

The Chevy Aveo RS concept may have simply been a preivew of the Sonic, but the model created so much buzz, that it looks like GM is going to produce it. GMI's sources are claiming that the Aveo RS has been given the green light, under the new name, Sonic RS and will most likely end up in showrooms next year. The Sonic RS will be powered by the 138-hp 1.4L turbocharged engine. It will get exterior styling that is reminiscent of the concept with its aggressive front air dam, fog lights and a sporty body kit. Tweaks to the Sonic's suspension are also expected with larger brakes.

The Chevy Sonic RS is expected to go into production in 2012 and be available in both hatchback and sedan versions. For now Sonic fans will have to make due with the Z-Spec accessories for the 2012 Sonic.

2012 Mini Coupe Officially Unveiled... Mini's First Two-Seater

Following the preview of the Mini Cooper Coupe that Mini released earlier this month, we now have our first official look at the 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe.

The 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe is first two-seater that Mini has released. It is also the fastest Mini ever released and also has the highest top speed. The look of the Mini Cooper Coupe is familiar, but its also new. The design looks similar to the other Mini models, but it adopts a three-box body structure. The Cooper Coupe's "helmet roof" is definitely something new and sets it apart from the other Mini models. It also gets an integral roof spoiler, an active rear spoiler optimizes airflow at higher speeds.

Inside the Mini Cooper Coupe features a design that is similar, but that emphasizes its two-seater layout with the oval recesses in the roof liner provide extra headroom for the driver and front passenger.

There will be three versions of the Mini Cooper Coupe available: John Cooper Works Coupe, Cooper S Coupe, and the Cooper Coupe. The John Cooper Works Coupe is powered by a 208-hp turbocharged 1.6L, the Cooper S Coupe puts out 181-hp from its turbocharged 1.6L and the Cooper Coupe is powered by a 121-hp naturally-aspirated 1.6L.

Check out the full press release for all the details after the jump.

We've heard rumors about a new Honda roadster for a while now. Auto Express is now reporting that Honda is definitely planning a new roadster that will combine the best of Honda's car and motorcycle technologies.

The new roadster will be a successor to the Beat roadster from the Nineties. The front-wheel-drive, two seater roadster will be based on the same platform as the CR-Z hybrid, but will have a smaller body. It's expected to take styling cues from the OSM concept car.

What will power the new roadster? It's rumored that it will be powered by one of Honda's next-generation 1.3L or 1.5L VTEC engines, but a hybrid version is not planned. The engine is expected to be mated to Honda's first ever dual clutch transmission.

The Honda Beat will be released in late 2013 and will be targeted at the Mazda MX-5. Unlike the original Honda Beat, the new one will be sold worldwide.

Mini Rocketman Too Expensive to Produce

Ever since the Mini Rocketman concept was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March there have been reports claiming that the concept would be produced and at the same time reports claiming the opposite. Here's another report claiming that the minicar may never see life in a Mini showroom.

Autoweek is reporting that BMW executives have not signed off on the Mini Rocketman because of worries that the minicar would not be profitable. The Mini Rocketman is much smaller than the current Mini at 132 inches long, but it's 26 inches longer than its main competitor, the Smart ForTwo.

The Mini Rocketman would have to be much cheaper than the standard Mini, but unfortunately it is expected to cost nearly as much to produce.

Mercedes-Benz GLS to Take on the BMW X6 in 2014

According to the latest reports, Mercedes-Benz is planning a new SUV that will compete with BMW's X6, called the GLS. The Mercedes-Benz GLS is expected to launch in 2014 on the same unibody platform as the new third-generation M-Class.

An insider revealed to Autocar, "After closely monitoring sales trends, we've concluded there is potential for an additional off-road model with a more sporting emphasis than the new M-Class."

The GLS will basically be Mercedes' interpretation of the BMW X6, which will ditch the practicality of the five-seater M-Class for a crossover with a sportier roofline that only seats four passengers. The GLS will also face competition from the upcoming Audi Q6 and a new Range Rover Sport that is planned for 2013.

VW Cancels Plans to Bring the GTI Edition 35 to the US

It was reported earlier this month that VW had plans to bring the GTI 35 Edition to the US, thanks to a Car and Driver source. The GTI 35 Edition features 35 more horsepower than the current GTI and has a slightly tweaked front fascia and new 18-inch wheels. A source told Car and Driver that VW had plans to bring the model to the US under a different name, since the GTI has not been on sale in the US for 35 years.

Now the same source is saying that it's not going to happen. Why? It looks like VW of America doesn't want the special edition GTI. VW of America doesn't see the need to offer a special edition GTI since it already sells well over here. There are also reports that the sport seats in the special edition GTI are not federally approved and the front fascia is too low for American roads.

Too bad... we just have to wait until the 265-hp Golf R makes it here.

2012 Chevy Cruze Gets More MPG and Standard Equipment

GM has announced the changes to its popular Chevy Cruze for the 2012 model year. For 2012 the Chevy Cruze models with the 1.4L turbo and six-speed automatic transmission will get 2 mpg better fuel economy 38 mpg compared to 36 mpg for the 2011 model. The Chevy Cruze Eco with the automatic transmission now gets 39 mph compared to 37 mpg. A lower axle ratio for the 2012 models enables the approximately 5 percent increase in highway fuel efficiency for the Cruze.

The most fuel efficient Cruze, is the Cruze Eco with the six-speed manual transmission that gets 42 mpg on the highway. For 2012 the 1LT and Eco now get standard Bluetooth, USB port, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a leather-wrapped shift knob.

"Chevrolet is committed to responding to what customers want and making it easier for them," said Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. "Adding these previously optional features streamlines the ordering process and answers the call of what our customers told us should be standard."

The Chevy Cruze was the best-selling small car in the US in May.

Aston Martin Cuts Production of the Rapide

Aston Martin is going to cut production of its Rapide sedan, due to lower than expected sales. Aston Martin is going to lower production to just 25 cars per day to better match the demand for the Rapide. Some sources claim that production could drop as low as 10 cars per day, even though Aston Martin is denying those rumors.

Aston Martin is only going to produce 1,250 Rapides per year, which is just over half of the 2,000 units that were originally planned. Obviously the luxury car market hasn't completely recovered from the financial meltdown in 2008. Aston Martin's sales are still only at about half of what they were before 2008.

Sportauto has released the results of a BMW 1 Series M Coupe that recently hit the famed Nürburgring.

The BMW 1 Series completed a lap on the Nürburgring in a solid 8 minutes and 15 seconds, which beat the Porsche Cayman S by 2 seconds and the Audi RS3 Sportback by 5 seconds. It even slapped the BMW 335i coupe, which completed the lap in 8 minutes and 26 seconds.

Sportauto felt that the 1 Series M Coupe could have done even better if it wasn't for the stiff suspension. If the 1 Series had a more forgiving suspension and racing tires, it would have done even better. Sportauto also reached 0-100 kph (62 mph) in 4.7 seconds and 0-200 kph (124 mph) in 17.2 seconds.

2012 BMW M5 to Start at £73,040 in the UK

BMW officially gave us our first look at the 2012 BMW M5, last week. The 2012 M5 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8 with 560 horsepower and and 502 lb-ft. of torque. It reaches 0-62 mph in 4.4 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph (190 mph with the M Driver's Package).

We've now learned that the 2012 M5 will start at £73,040 in the UK. BMW has yet to release the pricing for the M5 in the US.

2011 Lexus LS 460 Touring Edition Introduced...Starts at $73,875

Lexus has announced the introduction of the 2011 Lexus LS 460 Touring Edition, which starts at $73,875.

"The Touring Edition adds excitement to our flagship sedan," said Mark Templin, Lexus Division group vice president and general manager. "The package on this car enhances styling and comfort, allowing us to attract younger buyers to the LS line-up." 2011_LS_460_Touring_001.jpg

The 2011 LS 460 Touring Edition will be available on both the LS 460 Rear Wheel Drive and All-Wheel Drive models. The exterior of the Touring Edition is painted in Smoky Granite Mica. It also comes with: 19-inch five-spoke alloy wheels 18-inch on All-Wheel Drive model, sport kit and grille, sport seats and wood and leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob.

"The LS 460 Touring Edition is a unique package of sporty exterior styling and comfort. With limited units available nationwide they'll sell out fast to customers who want an all-inclusive luxury package," said Templin.

Chevy Cobalt Still Lives in South America

GM may have killed the Chevy Cobalt in the US, but it's still living south of us. In addition to the Chevy Colorado Rally Concept, GM is also showing off the Chevy Cobalt concept at the Buenos Aires International Motor Show.

The Chevy Cobalt concept looks nothing like the lame compact sedan that the Cruze replaced here. Although it's being labeled as a "concept" this sedan is pretty much destined for consumption in South America. GM says that the Cobalt is powered by various engines ranging in size from 1.3 to 1.8 liters, that can be run on gas, diesel or ethanol.

The styling of the Cobalt concept adopts Chevy's current design language, but doesn't look quite as "sporty" as the Cruze. Inside the interior is far better than the old Cobalt and it looks like the Cobalt concept has a similar tachometer/ speedometer layout as the 2012 Chevy Sonic.

2012 Chevy Sonic Prices to Start at $14,495

GM has announced the pricing for the 2012 Chevy Sonic, which will go on sale this fall. the 2012 Chevy Sonic starts at $14,495, which includes the destination fees.

The 2012 Chevy Sonic sub-compact will be available in both sedan and hatchback versions. It comes standard with air conditioning, power door locks, remote keyless entry 2012_Chevy_Sonic_sedan_new.jpg and 15" alloy wheels. The standard engine in the case Sonic LS is a 138-hp 1.8L Ecotec engine that is mated to a five-speed manual. A six-speed automatic can be added to the 1.8L for an additional $1,070. The Sonic LT starts at $15,695 and gets a six-speaker audio system, power windows, heated side mirrors and front seats, cruise control and standard 17-inch alloy wheels. The LT and LTZ models can be outfitted with the 138-hp 1.4L turbocharged engine and six-speed manual transmission for $700. The 1.4L is expected to get 40 mpg on the highway.

"Sonic shares the spirit of Chevrolets like the Corvette by delivering athletic and agile performance," said Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. "Today's customers have high expectations for small cars. Sonic comes with an unexpected level of standard equipment so that every customer will have comforts and amenities they desire."

Audi Q4 in the Works to Compete with the Range Rover Evoque?

A few months ago it was reported that Audi is working on a BMW X6 competitor, dubbed the Audi Q6. Now there are reports that Audi is planning another crossover, with coupe-like styling, the Q4 that will rival the Range Rover Evoque.

The Audi Q4 is going to be based off the Audi Q5, but will have a more coupe-like roofline, like the larger Q6 and will be launched in 2014/15. According to Autocar, the Q4 is already at the the advanced concept stage and will be based on the same MLB (modular longitudinal architecture) as the Q5 and upcoming Porsche Cajun. It's expected that the Cajun and Q4 will launch around the same time.

To keep costs down, the Q4 will have dimensions that are similar to the Q5, but with a lower roofline. it will get a more raked windshield than the Q5 and have a large angled liftback-style tailgate.

The Q4 will be available with a list of different engines ranging from a 2.0L diesel to a 3.0L V6 gas engine. A Q4 Hybrid is also a possibility. In addition to the larger Q6 and this Q4, It's being reported that Audi is also working on an even smaller Q2 crossover.

One Audi insider stated, "It's clear that demand for SUVs and crossovers is still in an upswing phase and will remain so for some years to come. We want to make sure we have the coverage to satisfy it."

Chevy Colorado Rally Concept Debuts in Buenos Aires

GM has taken the wraps off its second Chevy Colorado Rally Concept which is yet another preview of the next-generation Chevy Colorado. The first Chevy Colorado concept, the Chevy Colorado Show Truck debuted in March at the Bangkok International Auto Show. The Rally Concept with its double cab layout has exterior styling that is much closer to what the production model will wear.

The Colorado Rally Concept basically looks like a little brother to the GMC Sierra All Terrain HD Concept. It is powered by a 2.8-liter diesel engine and rides on a 305/60R18 BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires. chevrolet_colorado_rally_concept_2.jpg

"Robust and aggressive lines of the Colorado Concept, presented in Bangkok were the perfect foundation for building a car rally. Certainly, with the debut of the Concept in the Hall of Buenos Aires will have a preview of what we see on the roads around the world in a while, "said Carlos Barba, General Director of GM Design America.

"The Concept Rally Colorado is looking to the future of the global Chevrolet pickups. With this concept, the brand demonstrates its leadership in building vehicles with great design and capacity, "said Brad Merkel, Executive GM Global Vehicle.

Now if only GM would bring this to the US...

2012 Audi A6 Will be Here Next Month and Starts at $41,700

Audi has announced that the all-new 2012 Audi A6 will officially arrive in US showrooms next month. The 2012 A6 carries a base price at $41,700 for the A6 2.0T.

The all-new A6 was officially unveiled late last year. The base A6 is powered by Audi's 2.0L TFSI engine that puts out 211 horsepower and is mated to a CVT and front-wheel-drive. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, a sunroof, MMI Radio Plus with 6.5" screen and 3-zone climate control. Stepping up to the Premium Plus package adds $4,220 to the price and includes: 18-inch wheels, a navigation system, xenon headlights and a 7-inch driver information system.

The A6 3.0T quattro is powered by a 310-hp 3.0L V6 and starts at $49,900. The Premium and Premium Plus packages are the same as the 2.0T model. The 3.0T quattro cab be outfitted with the Prestige package ($6,800), which adds 4-zone climate control, a Bose audio system, S line exterior styling and adaptive headlights.

We're still waiting for Audi to unveil the S6, which is due sometime within the next year. Sadly Audi has no plans to bring the A6 Avant to the US.

2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Details Leaked

Chrysler unveiled the all-new 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 at the Chicago Auto Show earlier this year. It's powered by a new 6.4L HEMI V8 that has an estimated 465 horsepower and 465 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Allpar has apparently come across reports that detail all of the features that we can expect on the 2012 Charger SRT8. 2012_dodge_charger_srt8_new.jpg

On the outside the 2012 Charger SRT8 is going to get acoustic solar control glass, HID headlights a funcional hood scoop and a capless fuel filler. On the inside there will be luxury features like dual zone humidity-sensing automatic climate control, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, heated/cooled front cup holders, LED interior lighting, ventilated front seats and a 19-speaker 900 watt audio system.

The Charger SRT8 will also have tech features like knock back mitigation, which prepares the brakes for faster use based on lateral g-forces. The suspension will have a two-mode active dampening system that automatically adjusts the suspension to specific conditions. The driver can also manually choose between "Sport" and "Auto" settings. Adaptive cruise control and forward collision mitigation is also expected to be offered.

The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 will be released later this year.

Lotus is going to launch the Esprit in the spring of 2013, which will be the first of several new models from Lotus. Lotus previewed the Esprit with the Esprit concept.

According to Lotus CEP Dany Bahar, the Esprit will have a more "authentic" driving experience than the Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12C. Bahar who recently spoke with Autocar stated that the Esprit "have the character and emotion" that the McLaren lacks.

The Esprit will be the first Lotus to be powered by Lotus' new V8 engine, which is expected to have up to 570 horsepower. The Lotus V8 is 176 pounds lighter and 40 percent smaller than the original Toyota sourced V8.

A rolling chassis for the new Esprit is already complete and fully running prototypes are expected to be ready in November. Expect to see prototypes on the Nürburging.

Nissan Rebadges the Mazda5 the Lafesta Highway Star in Japan

Mazda and Nissan have entered a new partnership in Japan and the fruit of that new partnership is a minivan for Nissan. Nissan has decided to rebadge Mazda's Mazda5 minivan for sale in Japan as the Nissan Lafesta Highway Star. 2012_nissan_lafesta_highway_star_7.jpg

The Nissan Lafesta Highway Star is basically the same as the Mazda5, but with a new three-bar grille. Other than that it still has the same dual sliding doors and three rows of seats as the Mazda5. The Lafesta Highway Star is powered by a 2.0L engine and unlike the Mazda5 that we have here, the Lafesta is available with all-wheel-drive.

The Nissan Lafesta Highway Star is only for consumption in Japan. Don't expect to see this in our Nissan dealers anytime soon, although it would be a good alternative to the ugly Nissan Quest.

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid Still Can't Steal Toyota Prius Buyers

Honda has launched an all-new 2012 Civic Hybrid that gets a reported 44/44/44 mpg (city/ highway/combined) but the Civic Hybrid still isn't able to beat the best-selling Toyota Prius with its 51/48/50 mpg.

Honda is trying to improve its hybrid models, which have failed to compete with the Prius and other competitors hybrids. You may recall that Honda was the first to bring a electric-gasoline car to the US with the small Insight. Over a decade later and Honda is still struggling to beat Toyota. 2012_Honda_Civic_Hybrid_new_fr3.jpg

Honda's latest effort to improve its hybrid's fuel economy numbers is by using lithium-ion batteries instead of the old, heavier nickel-metal hydride batteries. The new lithium-ion battery pack in the 2012 Civic Hybrid weighs 48.5 pounds compared to the old battery that weighed 69 pounds. This has helped improve the Civic Hybrid's rating, which used to be 40/ 43 mpg.

Top Gear Season 17 Trailer.png
Top Gear has released a teaser trailer of its upcoming 17th season, which starts on June 26th.

Here's what we can expect from the new season: "Well, there's some affordable performance cars, some electric cars, some actual racing, some proper demolition, some silly cars, and Top Gear's attempt to improve public transport, which I think is going to be absolutely brilliant."

Spy Shots: 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK250 Spied in LA?

Mercedes-Benz announced this week that the all-new 2012 SLK350 is now on sale in the US with a starting price at $54,800. When Mercedes initially unveiled the all-new SLK, it was announced that a 4-cylinder powered SLK250 would also eventually be offered. We have yet to see the official photos of the SLK250, but it looks like a prototype was driving down the 405 freeway today in LA. 2012_Mercedes_Benz_SLK250_prototype.png

These two shots were sent in from a TR reader. It appears that this is our first unofficial look at the 4-cylinder 2012 SLK250. Note the smaller wheels and slightly less aggressive Unfortunately the caravan of Mercedes driving down the 405, caught onto him before he could get in front of the SLK that you see here.

The 2012 SLK is going to be released after the SLK350 and is powered by a 201 horsepower 1.8L four-cylinder. It reaches 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds.

Volvo Kills the S40 and V50 Models for 2012

Volvo has announced the death of the S40 and V50 models. Both models have been killed for the 2012 model year, due to disappointing sales.

The S40 sedan and V50 wagon have failed to appeal to American buyers, which is shown by the double digit sales decreases in year-over-year sales.

"The S40 and V50 are great cars," says Volvo spokesman James Hope, "[but] our focus, however, needs to be on our volume vehicles, specifically the S60, XC60, XC90, S80 and XC70."

Volvo is still going to offer the C30 hatchback and C70 convertible despite the fact that neither model is in high demand in the U.S.

2012 Buick Regal GS Confirmed with 270 HP

GM has announced the official specs for the 2012 Buick Regal GS that is set to go on sale this fall.

The 2012 Buick Regal GS will be the most powerful model available and is powered by an Ecotec 2.0L direct-injected turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The 2.0L puts out 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The Regal GS comes with a standard six-speed manual and reaches 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds, while getting 28 mpg on the highway.

"The Regal GS 2.0L turbo delivers the highest specific output of any production engine GM has ever offered, and at 135 hp per liter is the most power dense engine ever certified by SAE," said Mike Anderson, Ecotec global chief engineer and program manager. "We've been combining direct injection and variable valve timing with boosted engines since 2006, and there's no question the Regal GS turbo has the responsiveness and acceleration of some V-6s, while delivering the fuel economy you'd expect of a four-cylinder."

2012 BMW M5 Officially Unveiled with Over 100 Photos

BMW has officially unveiled the fifth-generation 2012 M5.

The 2012 BMW M5 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8 that puts out 560 horsepower and 502 lb-ft. of torque. The V8 is mated to a seven-speed M double clutch transmission. BMW hasn't announced if the M5 will be available with a manual transmission. It reaches 0-62 mph in 4.4 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph, which can be bumped up to 190 mph with the M Driver's Package.

Check out the 120+ photos after the jump.

2012 Toyota Yaris European Version Unveiled

The first official photos of the European version of the 2012 Toyota Yaris have been released. The all-new Yaris gets new styling that is more angular the current more rounded design. The final design was previewed by the Yaris Hybrid Concept that was unveiled in Geneva earlier this year.

Inside the all-new Yaris gets a dashboard that finally ditches the center mounted gauges for a more conventional setup with everything mounted in front of the driver. It's not yet known what will power the Yaris, but in Europe it's expected to be offered with a 3-cylinder 1.0L engine and a 4-cylinder 1.3L engine. A hybrid is also expected.

Stay tuned for the official US-spec version.

2012 BMW M5 Official Photos Leaked

It seems like photos and info on upcoming models always leaks out, somehow. This time the first official photos of the 2012 BMW M5 have leaked onto the internet ahead of its official unveiling.

Thanks to the M5 Concept and the numerous spy photos of the M5 prototypes testing all over the world, these official photos do not contain anything surprising. The 2012 M5 looks basically the same as the lesser powered 5 Series, with the exception of the larger air intakes in the front fascia, 20-inch wheels and four tailpipes out back.

The previous M5 got its motivation from a V10 engine, but the newest model is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8 with 552 horsepower and 501 lb-ft. of torque. Its expected to reach 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds.

Stay tuned for the official unveiling from BMW, soon.

VW Beetle R to Debut this Fall in Frankfurt

VW's all-new 2012 Beetle is set to go on sale this October with a starting price at $19,765. It's going to be available with either a 170-hp 2.5L, 200-hp 2.0L or a 2.0L diesel. If you are looking for even more power under the hood, VW employees have confirmed that a more-powerful Beetle R is going to eventually be released.

VW is going to be bringing the Golf R here within the next 12 months, which is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L that puts out 270-hp and 258 lb-ft. of torque. The Beetle R is expected to get the same turbocharged 2.0L, but since it will not get the all-wheel-drive system from the Golf R, the Beetle R will have slightly less power.

The Beetle R is expected to debut this September at the Frankfurt Motor Show. VW executives are still mulling a Beetle R cabrio. VW is trying to figure out if the demand would be high enough to justify building it.

Nissan Kills the Altima Hybrid... 2012 Model Not Planned

Not all hybrids are created equal. The Toyota Prius may fly out of Toyota's showrooms, but that doesn't mean that all other hybrids sell just as fast, look at the Honda Insight. Well it looks like Nissan's only hybrid, the Nissan Altima Hybrid is no more.

Kicking Tires recently confirmed that Nissan will not offer the Altima Hybrid after the 2011 model year. The Altima Hybrid debuted in 2007 using Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive technology. It achieved 33 mpg, but was only available in a few states compared to the Ford Fusion Hybrid that is available nationwide.

Ryan Reynolds Teams up With Nissan to Promote the Nissan Leaf

Nissan has announced a new partnership with actor, Ryan Reynolds to support the Nissan Leaf. The partnership is being announced in conjunction with the recent launch of "Innovation for Endurance," a new integrated fitness program.

Reynolds who owns a Nissan Leaf stated, "I believe it's possible to take great leaps forward without sacrificing a way of life. For me electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf, are not only representative of taking back the power, but also a significant statement about conscious ways of living."

His involvement with "Innovation for Endurance" will include digital and print creative, and videos for the "Innovation for Endurance" Facebook community page and the Nissan brand Facebook page. he pillars of the "Innovation for Endurance" program along with those who are globally conscious are the elite fitness enthusiast, athletes and coaches who share innovations in fitness, health, gear and training through on-site event appearances and blog posts. Ryan Reynolds joins program Innovators Ryan Hall, Olympian and fastest American marathoner; Tara Stiles, author of Slim Calm Sexy and founder of Strala Yoga; Levi Leipheimer, elite cyclist and three-time Tour of California champion; and Chris Carmichael, founder and CEO of Carmichael Training Systems, Inc. and coach to Lance Armstrong.

Next-Gen BMW 1 and 3 Series Coupes to be Renamed 2 and 4 Series

A decade ago it was rumored that BMW would rename the 3 Series coupe the 4 Series, but since there isn't currently a 4 Series in the BMW lineup, it obviously didn't happen.

Now it's being reported again that BMW is going to stick a 4 Series badge on the 3 Series coupe. The move would make sense, sense BMW's larger coupe, the 6 Series sits between the 5 Series and 7 Series sedans. It's also being reported that BMW's smallest coupe, the 1 Series, is going to get a 2 Series badge on the trunk. BMW recently trademarked the name M2, which also provides more proof that the next 1 Series coupe will indeed be renamed 2 Series.

The move would be similar to what Audi did with the A5 coupe and convertible and A4 models.

VIDEO: Supercharged Honda CR-Z Mugen = the CR-Z We Want

By now you've probably seen photos of the supercharged CR-Z Mugen that Honda and Mugen have teamed up to create. The CR-Z Mugen is based on the CR-Z Hybrid, but the biggest change is the supercharger that's been bolted onto the 1.5L engine. Final output is expected to be 197 horsepower, which is much better than the standard 122-hp.

The CR-Z Mugen is set to be officially unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, next month. But until then enjoy video of the CR-Z Mugen hitting the road, after the jump.

Next-Gen 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid to get 48 MPG?

Ford is planning an onslaught of new models next year, which includes the refreshed Taurus, a new Escape and an all-new Fusion.

The all-new 2013 Ford Fusion is expected to enter production early next year, on a new platform that's referred to as CD4. Ford expects a huge sales increase for the next Fusion, with sales in North America increasing by up to 50 percent.

Details are scarce for what we can expect from the next Fusion, but according to a source that spoke with Ford Inside News, the next Fusion Hybrid is expected to get around 47 to 48 mpg in the city.

The Fusion's brother, the 2013 Lincoln MKZ has been delayed until the second half of 2012.

GM's Al Oppenheiser recently confirmed more details about the 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1 at the Camaro homecoming at GM's Oshawa plant.

The 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1 will put out more than Cadillac CTS-V's 550-hp and have an available automatic transmission. The Camaro ZL1 will also get the same Performance Traction Management system as the Corvette ZR1.

Production of the 2012 Camaro ZL1 will kick off in the first quarter of next year.

VW Announces 2012 Beetle Black Turbo Launch Edition

VW has officially started taking orders for the all-new 2012 Beetle. If you're super excited to get your hands on the new Beetle, VW is offering a limited-edition Black Turbo Launch Edition, which is only available through Vehicle Pre-Order (VPO) program.

The Black Turbo Launch Edition is the first Beetle that is available for order. The Black Turbo launch edition is fitted with Volkswagen's DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and the 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that puts out 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft. of torque.

It comes standard with Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, three-color ambient lighting, larger brakes with red calipers, an additional glovebox, sport cloth seating surfaces, eight-speaker sound system, 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, alloy pedals and foglights.

A $495 reservation fee goes towards the final purchase of their 2012 Beetle Black Turbo launch edition model, which starts at $24,950.

VWVortex Creates the 2012 Beetle RS, a 911 GT3 for the Masses

The guys over at VWVortex were recently given a 2012 VW Beetle, in which they then created what you see here. A 2012 VW Beetle that takes inspiration from the Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

The 2012 VW Beetle is set to go on sale in October with a starting price at $19,765.

BMW 6 Series Four-Door Coupe Patent Drawings Leaked

Have more patent drawings leaked of an upcoming model? These are supposedly the patent drawings of the upcoming BMW 6 Series four-door coupe. Last year BMW gave us a preview of its CLS competitor with the unveiling of the Gran Coupe Concept. If these drawings are true, the production version remains pretty close to last year's concept.

The patent drawings have been revealed thanks to Carscoop show a production version that seems to only have subtle changes to the concept. Note the slightly restyled front and rear bumpers.

The BMW 6 Series four-door coupe is expected to go on sale in early 2012, so we should be seeing the production version soon.

Holden's Engineers Begin Tweaking the 2013 Malibu

Holden's engineers have been tasked with fine tuning the 2013 Chevy Malibu that will go on sale in Australia under the Holden name, late next year.

The Malibu is being calibrated at Holden's Lang Lang Proving Ground in Victoria and is also being evaluated on public roads. The engineers are currently calibrating the Malibu for GM's global markets. Holden's team continue to work on Malibu until the end of 2012.

Ford has finally fixed its lineup and killed off the Mercury brand, now it's time to finally pay attention to its luxury brand, Lincoln. Compared to GM's Cadillac, it's easy to ignore Lincoln due to its lack of stand out models.
Lincoln has been an American luxury brand for 96 years, but today many buyers simply see the brand as more luxurious Fords. Ford is now committed to making over the brand. 2011_Lincoln_MKT.jpg

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal , Ford's head of global product development, Derrick Kuzak, stated "You think of BMW as engaging to drive; you can think of Lexus as refined. Bring them together and it is a new experience no customer has ever had."

That statement should give a slight hint of what we can expect from the next-generation Lincolns. The first new Lincoln models will debut this fall. The Taurus-based MKS and the large crossover (ugly) MKT are set to get a refresh and will debut this fall at the LA Auto Show. The two models are the first of seven all-new or redesigned Lincolns. After that we can expect an all-new MKZ late next year and four new models in 2013 and 2014.

Is Mazda Working on its Next Rotary Engine with Audi?

The Mazda RX-8 is soon to retire. The RX-8 is the only model in the Mazda lineup that is powered by a rotary engine, but Mazda is reportedly working on a new Wankel engine. It's been reported that Mazda is working on a new rotary engine for the RX-8's successor, the RX-9, that will be powered by a rotary engine mated to Toyota's hybrid drive system. Now there are new rumors that Mazda is reportedly talking to Audi about its new Wankel engine. audi_a1_e_tron_new.jpg

Inside Line is reporting that there are at least 100 engineers working on the new Mazda engine. One new advancement for the engine is the adoption of a laser ignition system that does away with the need for spark plugs, boosts efficiency and lowers emissions. There isn't much information about what Mazda and Audi have discussed, but Audi did unveil the Audi A1 e-tron Concept in 2010, that was powered by a Wankel engine mated to an electrical generator.

There could be a possibility that Mazda may be talking to Audi about supplying a version of its new Wankel engine for use in a future Audi.

The good news is that it looks like the rotary engine will still exist beyond the RX-8.

VW Passat fans and anyone that may be interested in the all-new 2012 VW Passat can now build the new sedan on VW's website. The 2012 VW Passat has a lower starting price than the last-generation, at $19,995. For just under $20k you get the Passat 2.5L that is powered by a 2.5L five-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower. The base Passat comes standard with Bluetooth and automatic climate control.

Buyers that are interested in the diesel Passat can get one for $25,995. It's powered by the 2.0L turbodiesel that gets 31 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway. It comes standard with 17-inch wheels and Volkswagen's touchscreen Premium VIII radio.

The top of the line Passat V6 starts at $28,995 and is powered by a 280-hp 3.6L V6 mated to a six-speed DSG automatic. If you want a navigation system it will set you back another $1,600. The V6 SEL package adds $3,995 to the base price of the Passat V6 and comes with navigation, push button start and leather seats.

2011_BMW_ M3_Coupe_Frozen_Black_Edition_5.jpg
BMW has announced that the US is officially getting a version of the M3 Frozen Black Edition Coupe. 2011_BMW_ M3_Coupe_Frozen_Black_Edition_3.jpg

The 2011 M3 Frozen Black Edition Coupe features BMW Individual Frozen Black exterior paint with a deep metallic luster to accentuate the athletic lines of the legendary M3. Extended Novillo Leather with unique red-contrast stitching is also specified, as are M3 GTS black wheels, red brake calipers, and gloss black exterior trim elements.

The M3 Frozen Black Edition Coupe is powered by the same 414-hp 4.0L V8 as the M3 and reaches 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

Only 20 units of the 2011 M3 M3 Frozen Black Edition Coupe will be available with a starting price at $79,650.

2014_Ford_Mustang_Rendering.pngThe 2014 Ford Mustang is set to become a "world car", which means that it will officially arrive in the UK and other parts of the world. The latest rumors claim that the next-generation 2014 Ford Mustang is set to become a
Auto Express claims that the 50th anniversary of the Mustang, in 2014 will be very different from the current Mustang. The 2014 Mustang will be more European friendly with a right-hand driver version offered for the first time.

According to an insider design studios in Europe, Australia and America are currently working on the design of the 2014 model, which will be smaller and closer in spirit to the original 1964 Mustang. The 2014 Mustang is rumored to finally get a independent rear suspension. Auto Express claims that the Mustang will get a new 2.5L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with around 300 horsepower, but other sources are reporting that it will be a 2.3L.

BMW boss, Norbert Reithoffer recently spoke with What Car? after the announcement of a new £500 investment to produce the third generation Mini. Reithoffer stated that he "can imagine 10 Minis."

The Mini brand could eventually spawn up to 10 models according to Reithoffer. But one model that we will not see is a production version of the Rocketman concept.

"The Rocketman was a concept and we have no plans to take it further, but features of it will appear on future Minis," stated BMW Sales boss Ian Robertson.

Before the next-generation Mini is released, Mini is going to release the Mini coupe this fall, followed by a roadster version in 2012. Mini is also planning a coupe version of the Countryman crossover, which was previewed by the Paceman concept.

2012 Chevy Volt: Chevy Begins Taking Orders Nationwide

GM has announced that Chevy dealers in all 50 states will begin taking orders for the 2012 Chevy Volt today.

The 2012 Chevy Volt starts at $39,995, which is $1,000 below the starting price of the 2012_Chevy_Volt_Int.jpg2011 model. According to GM the lower base possible in part because of a wider range of options and configurations that come with the expansion of Volt production for sale nationally. For 2012 buyers will be able to choose from a total of seven option packages compared to only three on the 2011 model. The top of the line Volt goes for $46,265.

"We are giving consumers greater choice of content as the Volt becomes available nationwide by the end of this year," said Cristi Landy, Volt marketing director. "This gives us the opportunity to be more flexible in our pricing and still provide additional high-tech content to customers who want to purchase it."

Ford Cancels Plans to Bring the 7-Passenger C-Max to the US

Late last year Ford unveiled the seven-passenger 2012 C-Max mini-minivan. At the time it was confirmed that the US would be receiving the small people mover, but Ford has changed those plans. Ford has officially canceled the plans to bring the seven-passenger C-Max to the US, instead we will only be getting the five-passenger C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid. 2013_Ford_c-max_energi_new_fr3.jpg

The C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi may not hold seven-passengers and have the sliding doors from the seven-passenger C-Max, but they will be the first of two new Ford Hybrids to use lithium ion battery technology. The C-Max hybrid is expected to get better gas mileage than the Fusion hybrid and it will also be able to travel at a higher all-electric speed than Fusion Hybrid's 47 mph. The C-MAX Energi, featuring a 240-volt charging system, will be able to fully recharge faster than Chevy Volt and is being engineered to deliver more overall driving range than any other plug-in or extended range electric vehicle.

All good news, except for the death of the seven-passenger C-Max.

Maserati currently makes do with hand-me-down versions of Ferrari engines, which has been fine for Maserati fans. According to sources the 4.2-liter and 4.7-liter V8 Ferrari engines are not going to be used for the next-generation GranTurismo and Quattroporte.

What will replace the sweet sounding Ferrari engines? A twin-turbocharged version of Chrysler's Pentastar V6. Eeek! Sources that spoke with Inside Line claim that the next Maserati's will ditch the V8 for a twin-turbocharged 3.0L version of the Chrysler engine.

Does a Maserati with a Chrysler engine sound exciting to you???

The 2012 Chevy Corvette has returned to Germany's Nurburgring and managed to record a lap time that beats its previous record set back in 2008.

"Testing at the Nurburgring is one of the important methods we have to validate our car in the toughest track conditions." says Tadge Juechter, Corvette vehicle line director and chief engineer.

The 2012 Corvette ZR1 recorded a lap time of 7:19.63, more than six seconds faster than the previous Corvette-best recorded in 2008.

Check out the video after the jump.

IIHS: SUVs are Now Safer than Cars

According to the latest report released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, from 2006-2009 SUVs had a driver fatality rate that was half that of cars.

SUVs used to have a higher rollover rate, which contributed to their lower safety rating, but that is no longer the case thanks to the new anti-rollover technology.

"The rollover risk in SUVs used to outweigh their size/weight advantage, but that's no longer the case," thanks to electronic stability control, said Anne McCartt, IIHS senior vice president for research. "Pound for pound, SUVs have lower death rates."

The study counts the number of years that each model has been on the road and multiplies that by the number of that model's vehicles. SUV driver fatalities totaled 28 per million registered vehicle years compared to 52 for trucks and 56 for cars. The safest segment is minivans, which only had 25 driver fatalities per million registered vehicles.

What vehicle had the highest driver fatality rates in the study? The Nissan 350Z.

Lotus to Stop Production of US-Spec Exige and Elise in August

Its now confirmed. Lotus is going to end production of the US-spec Exige and Elise models in August. Lotus is basically being forced to end production of the two models because of an expiration of an airbag exemption and because Toyota has stopped producing the four-cylinder engine that powers the Lotus models.

US Lotus fans will have to wait until the fall of 2014 for the release of the next-generation Elise. In the meantime it looks like Lotus is working on developing a line of its own engines, which could mean that the next Lotus models will not be powered by Toyota engines.

Next Opel Astra Cabrio to Say Goodbye to its Metal Roof

Vauxhall/ Opel unveiled the 2012 Astra GTC earlier this week. Now it's been confirmed that the upcoming Astra Cabrio will not have a retractable metal roof like the current model. Instead the Astra Cabrio is going to get a traditional folding soft top.

Vauxhall's British design boss, Mark Adams, released the single sketch that you see here of the new convertible. It's expected that the Astra convertible will be released within the next 18 months. The Astra Cabrio should be powered by the same four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines as the other Astra models, although it's unlikely that a high-performance OPC model will be released.

It remains to be seen if the Opel Astra Cabrio and Opel Astra GTC sports compact will be coming to the US with a Buick badge.

2012 Chevy Cruze Hatchback Starts at £13,995

Here's a car yet another car that hasn't been announced for the US, but GM has released the pricing for the 2012 Chevy Cruze Hatchback. The 2012 Chevy Cruze Hatchback goes on sale in Europe next month with a starting price at £13,995.

Chevrolet Managing Director, Mark Terry, said: "The hatchback version of the Cruze is a massively important new car for us, as it not only appeals on a retail level, but also massively increases Chevrolet's appeal to the fleet market - alongside the Orlando and the New Captiva, and with a new Aveo just round the corner, we have a truly holistic model range that will appeal to fleet managers, user-choosers and retail customers alike."

The base Cruze Hatchback is powered by a 122-hp 1.6L mated a manual transmission. A 2.0L diesel engine is available with the base LT trim. Moving up the LTZ trim buyers can choose between a 139-hp 1.8L gas engine or the 160-hp 2.0L diesel.

Mazda Hoping to Trim 720 Pounds from Next-Gen MX-5 Miata

2011_Mazda_ MX-5_new_fr3.jpg
Mazda is hoping to put the next-generation on an extreme diet compared to the current model. According to an insider Mazda's engineers have been given the task of cutting at least 720 pounds from the 2,480 pound curb weight of the current Miata. Mazda hopes that the next-generation Miata will be more closer in character to the original 1989 model. The original Miata weighted 2,178 pounds.

According to the inside source that spoke with Inside Line, the goal will probably not be met, but engineers have made some progress. Some of the methods that the engineers are using is high-strength steel for the body and a smaller, lighter engine. Other things are going to be deleted from the next Miata, like a dashboard glovebox and an owner's manual.

The next Miata will also be smaller and narrower. The engine is also going to be downsized and could be as small as 1.4 liters. Of course a turbocharger and direct injection will boost the power of the tiny engine.

VIDEO: 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class in Action

Yesterday Mercedes officially unveiled the 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class. Here's the first video of the new SUV on the road.

Check out the video of the all-new M-Class after the jump.

2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist Starts at $29,960

Buick has announced the pricing for the 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist. The 2012 LaCrosse eAssist starts at $29,960 before the destination charges.

The eAssist system is now the standard powertrain on the LaCrosse, which gets better gas mileage than the Lexus HS Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. The LaCrosse with eAssist is powered by a mild hybrid system which pairs a 2.4L four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission with a 15-hp electric motor. The Buick LaCrosse with eAssist gets an estimated 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.

If you aren't too keen on the eAssist system, Buick also offers a 303-hp 3.6L V6 that is available at no extra cost.

Honda CR-Z Racer Headed to Le Mans

Honda is heading to Le Mans with the CR-Z Racer that was developed by Honda Performance Development. At the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race, Honda's CR-Z hybrid will be featured in a special exhibition ("Le Mans vers le Futur") looking at the future of the legendary event.

The "Le Mans vers le Futur" exhibition is devoted to showcasing the Le Mans racing cars of the future. The CR-Z racer you see here has a total 200 horsepower and 175 lb-ft. of torque, which is better than the 122 horsepower than the standard CR-Z has.

Mini Gets into the Shoe Business with Union Jack Sneaker

Love the Mini Cooper and want even more people to know it? Mini has just announced the release of the Union Jack Sneaker, which is part of the Mini Lifestyle Collection.

The Mini Union Jack Sneakers are hi-tops that come in classic blue with soles and laces in contrasting white. Fashionable Union Jack details add attractive highlights, with the flag printed on the heel cap and along the shoelace eyelets. The Union Jack profile at the front and back of the sole ensures that these sneakers will leave behind a distinctly British footprint: Mini was here!

The Mini Union Jack Sneakers will be available starting in September on the internet and in select Mini dealers.

Saab Production Stops Again due to Parts Shortage

It looks like Saab is still having issues. Production resumed at the end of May after a six-week shutdown, but today production has stopped again. Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs told Automotive News Europe that production "ran for a short period this morning, but it stopped and will remain stopped for the rest of the day.''

According to Gustavs, a disruption in the flow of materials is to blame for the latest production issues.

Spyker CEO Victor Muller stated, "Many suppliers did not make parts during the shutdown, some for almost two months. If you run out of parts it can impact production."

Gustavs did not know when production will resume.

Hyundai has already revealed the revised 2012 Hyundai Genesis sedan, but we won't see the revised 2012 Genesis Coupe until the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.

The 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is going to get a revised exterior, but more importantly the Genesis coupe is going to get some power upgrades. Currently the Genesis coupe is powered by either a 210-hp turbocharged 2.0L or a 306-hp 3.8L V6. The V6 is likely to get the same upgrades that the sedan received (direct injection and higher compression ratio), which means it will probably get a bump to 333 horsepower and 291 lb-ft. of torque. It's unknown what upgrades the 2.0L engine will receive, but it's expected to be small.

There's still no word if the Genesis Coupe will ever get the 429-hp V8 from the sedan.

General Motors CEO Dan Akerson recently had a two-hour interview with the Detroit News, in which he shared his opinion about the current gas prices and how the gas prices are pushing buyers towards more efficient vehicles.

Akerson is confident that the government will soon get rid of its remaining 26 percent share in General Motors. "I actually think the government will be out this year -- within the next 12 months, hopefully within the next six months."

One thing that Akerson would like to see the government do, is raise the current gas tax as part of its new energy policy. Akerson believes that a higher gas tax will force more people to buy small cars, which will do more than forcing automakers to comply with higher gas-mileage standards (CAFE).

"There ought to be a discussion on the cost versus the benefits," he said. "What we are going to do is tax production here, and that will cost us jobs."

Lotus to Build its Own Engines with Elan Budget

Lotus has decided to build its own range of V6 and V8 engines after it decided to delay the introduction of the new Elan. Lotus boss Dany Bahar recently stated that the mid-engined 450-hp Elan was too close to the new Esprit. So the Elan will not be released until near the end of the Esprit's product lifecycle.

Since Lotus has decided to delay the Elan, the budget that was allocated to the Elan will now be used to create a new modular engine family.

"This is a big [financial] hit because it's expensive to do 
an engine,' says Bahar. "But 
because the Elan is not happening now we have got capital expenditure headroom 
for engine development."

According to Autocar, work on the new engines began late last year, with the first prototype V8 expected in July. The V8 engine is expected to put out between 550-570 horsepower. The current plan is to develop a 4-cyl engine from the new V8, but if that fails, Lotus will continue to use a Toyota sourced 4-cyl.

2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Official Photos Released

Mercedes-Benz hasn't dropped all the details yet about the redesigned 2012 M-Class, but here are the first official photos of the new SUV.

The all-new 2012 M-Class retains a similar profile as the current generation, but with a new more aggressive front fascia and body lines that are part of the current Mercedes design language. When the M-Class is released it's expected to launch with a 3.5L V6 and a 3.0L turbo diesel. Both engines are mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Of course an AMG version will be released as well.

Stay tuned for all the details soon, but check out the photos after the jump.

2012 Audi Q3 Production Kicks off in Spain

Audi has officially started production of its newest crossover the 2012 Audi Q3 in Spain. Audi's third crossover is also its smallest. Approximately 100,000 units will be produced per year at the Seat factory in Martorell, Spain.

"The Audi Q3 production is an example of how we are making use of synergies within the Group," stresses Frank Dreves, Board Member for Production at AUDI AG. "The Martorell factory is an extremely productive facility with a highly skilled workforce, and one that meets the exacting quality standards of our brand. The Q3 definitely gets the Audi seal of approval."

The Audi Q3 will launch with three four-cylinder powerplants: one TDI unit and two TFSI engines, developing between 140 hp and 211 hp.

Hyundai to Unveil Elantra Coupe this Fall in LA

In an effort to steal more sales from Honda's popular Civic, Hyundai is going to unveil a coupe version of its new Elantra at the LA Auto Show, this fall.

The Elantra coupe will be powered by the same 148-hp 1.8L four-cylinder engine as the sedan. In 2012 it's expected that Hyundai will release an R-Spec version that will be powered by the same 208-hp turbocharged engine that is going to power the Hyundai Veloster. The R-Spec Elantra Coupe would be a direct competitor to the Honda Civic Si.

2012 VW Beetle Starts at $19,765

VW has announced the pricing for the all-new 2012 VW Beetle, that starts at $19,765. The 2012 VW Beetle is set to go on sale in October.

The base 2012 VW Beetle is powered by a 170-hp 2.5L five-cylinder engine that is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The base Beetle comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels and an eight-speaker audio system.

The more desirable 2012 VW Beetle 2.0L TSI with the same 200-hp 2.0L turbocharged 4-cyl as the GTI starts at $24,165. THe turbocharged Beetle comes standard with Bluetooth, 18-inch alloy wheels, bigger brakes and a rear spoiler.

VW is going to release a diesel powered Beetle with around 40 mpg highway, but pricing has not been announced.

At under $20,000 and with a body and chassis that aim to be sportier, is the 2012 VW Beetle going to finally be more competitive with models like the Mini Cooper? If you still want more, VW is reportedly working on an R version of the Beetle.

2012 Opel Astra GTC Officially Unveiled

Opel has taken the wraps off the Astra GTC three-door sports compact ahead of its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show, this September.

The Astra GTC is inspired by the Opel GTC Paris Concept that was unveiled last fall. The Astra GTC is unique in the fact that it doesn't share any exterior elements with the other members of the Astra family, with the exception of the mirrors and antenna.

"We wanted the Astra GTC to be the ultimate expression of Opel's design language 'sculptural artistry meets German precision' and to embody our passion for the automobile," says Mark Adams, Vice President, Opel/Vauxhall Design. "However, we did not want emotion to overshadow functionality: the Astra GTC is a clever and affordable dream car."

2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Leaked via a Brochure

Mercedes has been quietly preparing an all-new 2012 M-Class and while we've seen some spy photos of the new SUV, we haven't received that much information on the new model. Motor-Talk has apparently received the first photos of the 2012 M-Class thanks to a brochure.

The 2012 M-Class is all-new, but doesn't stray too far from the current shape. The new M-Class gets many of the same design themes as the newer models in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, like the E-Class. The front fascia is more aggressive it looks like a panoramic sunroof is now going to be available.

It's not known when Mercedes will officially unveil the all-new M-Class, but since it's already leaked, it shouldn't be too much longer...

Mazda Confirms the End of Mazda6 Production in the US

It was reported last week that Mazda was planning on ending its partnership with Ford at the AutoAlliance International plant in Michigan plant that currently produces the Mazda6 sedan. Mazda has now officially confirmed that the next-generation midsize sedan will be produced in Hofu, Japan.

Mazda decided to move all production of the Mazda6 to Hofu "in order to improve production and investment efficiencies and optimize our business." The current generation Mazda6 will continue to be produced at the Michigan plant until the end of its current life cycle.

2012 BMW 1 Series M Sport Looks a Little Better

Over the weekend we got our first official look at the 2012 BMW 1 Series Hatchback, unfortunately for BMW it looks like the design is not "love at first sight." The headlights are oddly shaped and give way to a front fascia that only a mother could love. But there is hope for the 1 Series, BMW is set to release an M Sport version and thankfully it gets some tweaks to that front end.

The front fascia of the 1 Series M Sport gets a revised bumper with larger air intakes, which help the overall balance of the front end. It's being reported that the M Sport version will also get a revised rear bumper, side skirts and M-specific wheels. Inside the 1 Series M Sport gets sports seats and a new steering wheel. The M Sport version of the 1 Series is expected to debut this fall.

2010_audi_q5_new_fr3.jpgAudi is currently working on a new 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6 diesel that will see its first use in a facelifted Q5, early next year. The 3.0L V6 puts out 309 horsepower and 479 lb-ft. of torque. The upcoming Porsche Cajun is also going to be built off the same platform as the Q5 and will also get the new diesel according to Autocar.

Audi's head of engine development, Axel Eisner states that most of Audi's models will get the new diesel engine, from the A3 all the way up to the A8 and Q7. Audi is also working on a new twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel.

The Porsche Cajun isn't expected until the 2014 model year.

Mini Gives us a Preview of the 2012 Cooper Coupe

The Mini Cooper Coupe was originally unveiled as a concept back in 2009. Now we're just a few months away from the Frankfurt Motor Show and Mini has given us a preview of the 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe that will be unveiled at the show.

The Mini Cooper Coupe is a new two-seater Mini that will be released early next year. The Mini Cooper Coupe will be the sportiest Cooper in the Mini lineup. The Mini Cooper Coupe will be powered by either a 121-hp 1.6L, a turbocharged 181-hp 1.6L or a 208-hp 1.6L in the Mini John Cooper Works Coupe. A six-speed manual transmission is standard across all versions, but the Cooper Coupe and Cooper S Coupe can be fitted with a six-speed automatic transmission.

For now Mini has only released a bunch of photos of a camouflaged coupe. Stay tuned for all the official photos soon...

Tesla Releases New Photos of the Tesla Model S "Alpha"

Tesla Motors has released more photos of the "Alpha" version of the upcoming Model S sedan. The "Alpha" version of the Model S sedan is closer to what we will see when the electric sedan is officially released next year.

From these photos it's easily to tell that the new concept has a different front fascia, which is more aggressively styled than the first concept. More aggressive = good. Tesla is also supposed to unveil its first crossover at the end of this year, the Model X.

What are the 10 Most Disappointing Cars of 2011?

We've reached the halfway point of 2011. With that we have a view of what cars buyers are ignoring or simply hate this year. CNN Money has put together a list of 10 cars that it sees as the most disappointing cars this year.

The list includes some models that aren't surprising, like the disappointing Honda Insight, which has failed to steal away Prius buyers and the Smart ForTwo, which is just too small for American buyers.

Which models do you think are missing from the list?

Check out the full list after the jump.

2012 BMW 1 Series Hatchback Official Photos

Yesterday the first photos of the all-new 2012 BMW 1 Series Hatchback leaked onto the internet ahead of its official debut in Frankfurt this fall.

The 2012 1 Series Hatchback is now larger with its length now at 166.7 inches, width at 69.5 inches and height at 55.9 inches. It's now 3.3 inches longer than the first generation and 0.7 inches wider. The wheelbase has been increased by 1.2 inches, bringing it to 105.9 inches long.

European buyers will be able to choose from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder gasoline engine, which puts out 136 hp in the 116i and 170 hp in the 118i. Buyers can also choose a 2.0L four-cylinder diesel engine, which puts out 116 hp in the 116d, 143 hp in the 118d and 184 hp in the 120d. The 120d model is the fastest 1 Series with a 0-62 mph time of 7.2 seconds and a top speed of 142 mph. Eventually BMW will release 128i and 135i gasoline powered models.

A three-door hatchback is also expected and the coupe and convertible versions are expected to be unveiled in about a year.

Japan's automakers are suffering as production has been severely hurt by the March earthquake. Just one look at last month's top-10 list will show you how bad it is for Japan's biggest automakers like Honda, Toyota and Nissan. It looks like the 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is another victim with production hurting so bad that only 40-50 units have been delivered to customers. 2011_nissan_murano_crosscabriolet_side.jpg

The 2011 Murano CrossCabriolet went on sale a few weeks ago, but inventory levels are very low since production at Nissan's Kyushu plant was offline until April 13. The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is being labeled as "the world's first all-wheel-drive crossover convertible." It starts at $47,190.

Is it necessarily a bad thing that Nissan hasn't been able to fully produce The Murano CrossCabriolet? It isn't the prettiest thing to look at. Canada already doesn't want it.

All-New 2012 BMW 1 Series Photos Leak onto the Internet

Here's your first look at the all-new 2012 BMW 1 Series ahead of its official unveiling this fall in Frankfurt. This photo leak gives us a look at what we can expect at the show. The current 1 Series is not one of the most beautiful BMWs, but does this one look much better? It really isn't a huge jump in the right direction from the current one. 2012_bmw_1series_leak_3.jpg

The new 1 Series adopts styling that is similar to the larger 7 Series, but we'll have to wait to make the final decision on the new look when the car is officially unveiled in a few months. Under the hood it's expected to get three different versions of the 1.6L turbocharged gasoline engine and three versions of the 2.0L turbocharged diesel. The engines will all be mated to either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

In Europe the all-new 1 Series is expected to go on sale this fall.

Chrysler CEO Sergion Marchionne recently confirmed that the next-generation Chrysler Town & Country will see the return of all-wheel-drive. The Detroit News is reporting that the next-generation Chrysler minivan will continue to be a traditional minivan, but the platform will also be used for a new crossover type of vehicle.

The Town & Country was offered with all-wheel-drive until the 2004 model year, when it was killed due to the packaging needs of then new Stow 'n Go seating system. The new Chrysler minivan was due in 2014, but that plan has been pushed up.

Marchionne: "We need to be more competitive, so we made it a priority to replace it faster than we originally thought."

It's expected that the new models will be released by 2013.


New plans have been unveiled that Mazda plans on dissolving its joint venture with Ford, which will result in the end of US-built Mazdas according to Japan's Nikkei.

Currently Mazda and Ford have a 50/50 partnership for the AutoAlliance International plant in Michigan. According to sources, Mazda is considering selling its stake in the plant to Ford as Mazda seeks to restructure its global production. The plant currently produces the Mazda6, but around 2013 Mazda cars sold in the US will come from Japan and Mexico.

The Mazda and Ford partnership was lessened last year when Ford lowered its stake in Mazda from 11 percent down to 3.5 percent.

2012 Audi R8 GT Spyder: Audi Releases Official Details

We've seen photos of the 2012 Audi R8 GT Spyder, but now Audi has released all the official details for the open-top version of the R8.

Like the R8 GT, Audi has managed to trim off 188 pounds off its final weight, bringing the final total to just over 3,600 pounds. Much of the weight loss is due to the use of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer, which is used for the front spoiler, rear spoiler, rear bumper, and the cover over the soft-top compartment. The seats also saved a lot of weight, with their chassis of glass fiber-reinforced polymer, which saved 69 pounds.

The R8 GT Spyder is powered by a 5.2L V10 that puts out 560 horsepower and 398 lb-ft. of torque. It reaches 0-62 mph in 3.8 seconds and has a top speed of 197 mph.

Only 333 units are going to be produced. In Germany the R8 GT Spyder will carry a base price of 207,800 euros.

Is Lexus Working on an Even Hotter LFA II?

Japanese supercars are showing some signs of a comeback with the Nissan GT-R, Lexus LFA and hopefully one day, a new Acura NSX. Lexus is reportedly working on an even hotter version of the its LFA supercar.

Lexus has already released the Nurburgring package for the LFA that increases the final output of the 4.8L V10 to 562 horsepower. It has a top speed of 202 mph and reaches 0-62 mph in 3.7 seconds. Japan's Best Car is reporting that the positive response to the Nurburgring package has prompted Lexus to create an even hotter version of the LFA, the LFA II. 

First Photo of Refreshed 2012 Chevy Impala Leaked


Here's the first look at the slightly refreshed 2012 Chevy Impala thanks to a leak. The changes on the outside of the 2012 Impala are so minimal, that most people won't even notice it. The front fascia gets a new mesh grile, but everything else looks the same. GM says that the rear fascia has also been updated, but this is the only photo we have so far of the Impala. 

The more exciting news is that the 2012 Impala is now powered by the direct-injected 3.6L V6, which is going to put out 302 horsepower. That's a big improvement over the 2011 Impala's base V6 that only puts out 211 horsepower. 

These changes are supposed to keep the Impala fresh until the all-new 2014 Impala is released.

Stay tuned for the official unveiling of the 2012 model.

Ford Announces New 1.0L EcoBoost Engine and 8-Speed Automatic

Ford has announced the introduction of the new 1.0L EcoBoost three-cylinder engine that will be launched in North America and a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

The new 1.0L EcoBoost engine is the smallest engine that Ford has ever produced. The tiny three-cylinder engine was developed at Ford's Dunton Technical Centre in the U.K. The engineers' goal was to design a technically advanced, super-efficient three-cylinder engine that delivers the same performance as a four-cylinder, but with much higher fuel economy and lower emissions. Ford hasn't finalized the horsepower and torque outputs of the new engine, but according to Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development, the engine will deliver power equivalent to the larger normally aspirated 1.6L engine.

The new turbocharged 1.0L engine will be offered Ford's small cars, which means the Fiesta and Focus.

According to sources that spoke with Car and Driver, VW is going to be bringing the recently unveiled GTI 35 Edition to the U.S. This is great news for any GTI fan, myself included! The U.S. version will be powered by the same 235-hp 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder, which has 35 more horsepower than the current GTI.

The biggest change, which is actually a small change, will be to the name. The 35 in the name of the European version refers to the number of years since the GTI was first introduced in Europe. 2012 will mark 30 years since the GTI has been sold here, so the name of this version will be changed to Edition 30 for the U.S. market.

The true GTI fans are still waiting for the 265-hp Golf R.

VW Golf R Cabriolet Concept Unveiled at Wörthersee

Many of you dismiss the 2012 VW Golf Cabriolet as a "chick" car, but what about this new concept? VW has unveiled the Golf R Cabriolet concept at Wörthersee.

The Golf R Cabriolet is anything but a chick car with its 265 horsepower turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder. It reaches 0-62 mph in less than six seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph. According to VW, the Golf R Cabriolet is the fastest open-top Golf, ever.

The Golf R Cabriolet has been lowered by an inch thanks to its new sport chassis and 19-inch wheels cover huge 17-inch brakes.

VW still hasn't announced any plans to bring the Golf Cabriolet to the U.S., but at least we will be getting the Golf R.

Ford F-150 V6 Models Outselling V8s

Gas prices suck, so it's no surprise that car and truck buyers are looking for more fuel efficient models. According to PickupTrucks.com, Ford is selling more V6 equipped F-150 trucks than F-150s with V8 engines.

Ford offers two V6 engines in its best-selling F-150, the base 3.7L V6 and the turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost V6. Last month 41 percent of all F-150s driving off Ford lots were powered by the EcoBoost engine, and another 14 percent were equipped with the base V6. That means that V6 engines accounted for 55 percent of all F-150 sales last month.

The turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost engine has already exceeded sales expectations, so it's no surprise to see this model flying off dealer lots. The EcoBoost V6 puts out 365 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque. It has more horsepower than the 5.0L V8, gets slightly better gas mileage and can tow more.

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee to Get Six-Speed Automatic

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler is set to get a much needed powertrain upgrade and it looks like Chrysler is also upgrading the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The 2012 Wrangler is getting a new 5-speed automatic and the Grand Cherokee is set to get a six-speed automatic for the 2012 model year. V6 Grand Cherokee models are also expected to get an electro-hydraulic power steering system that will be more efficient than the current system.

The exciting new addition to the Grand Cherokee lineup is the 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8. The Grand Cherokee SRT8 is powered by a 465-hp 6.4L HEMI V8. Chrysler claims that the Grand Cherokee SRT8 will reach 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds and a that the SUV has a top speed of 155 mph.

VW, Audi and Porsche Roadsters Get the Green Light

Last month it was reported that VW had decided to cancel plans for the new roadster that would spawn three different models under the VW, Audi and Porsche brands. Well those rumors were false according to a source that spoke with Autocar.

"We have not abandoned plans for a roadster along the lines of the E-tron Spyder," a source revealed to Autocar. "We have reached a stage where we are moving forward and are now in the process of progressing the business case further, but it won't go on sale until after the third-generation TT."

This news means that the mid-engined roadsters are a go. All three roadsters will share a common mid-engined platform with rear-wheel-drive. Although the roadsters will be based on the same platform, they will appeal to different buyers. Each roadster will get its own individual exterior styling. The Audi roadster will take styling cues from the E-tron Spyder concept, the Porsche will borrow cues from the 550 Spyder from the 1950's and the VW roadster will be close to the BlueSport concept.

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

The sales numbers from May 2011 are just rolling in and we have our list of the top-10 best selling models last month. 2012_ford_focus_sedan_silver_fr3.jpg

This is the weirdest list that I think I have ever seen, well obviously I wasn't around in the 1960s, when the auto market was largely dominated by "The Big 3." Due to the earthquake in Japan, production was halted and is still not back up to where it needs to be. Because of this Japan's automakers have seen sales declines across the board, since there is a severe shortage of vehicles on their lots. The top-10 list from May reflects this with only one Japanese model in the list, the Nissan Altima. Honda and Toyota are completely absent from the list. 2011_chevy_cruze_eco_new_fr3.jpg

The American and Korean automakers are seeing the benefits from this tragedy, with their models filling the demand. The top two models continued to be the Ford F-Series and Chevy Silverado pickups, but the Chevy Malibu held the number three spot and the top selling car title in the U.S. last month. The best-selling Toyota Camry was no where on the list, but at least a new 2012 Camry is coming out this fall. Other models on the list are the Ford Focus, Ford Fusion and Hyundai Elantra.

Check out the full list after the jump.

Toyota Celica to be Revived in Europe?

This fall Toyota and Subaru will finally take the wraps off the two rear-wheel-drive coupes that they've developed together. In the US the Toyota version will be sold under the Scion brand, but in Europe and other markets, Toyota could bring back the Celica nameplate.

It's been over five years since the Celica was available in Toyota showrooms.

Opel to Get Next-Generation Buick LaCrosse and Enclave

Buick is experiencing a revival in the U.S., thanks in large part to the new models its borrowed from Europe's Opel. Now it looks like Buick is going to return the favor by sending two of its upcoming models to Europe, to be sold under the Opel brand.

It's being reported that GM is going to better align the Buick and Opel brands in the future. The next-generation Enclave crossover is due in 2015 and will be the first Buick to be badged as an Opel. The 2015 Enclave is also expected to get new four-cylinder engines, which will make it more appealing to European buyers.

The year after the Enclave gets rebadged as an Opel, the next-generation Buick LaCrosse will also be offered as an Opel in Europe. The next-generation Buick LaCrosse is expected to be smaller and lighter than the current model.

Buick is still going to get more Opel models like the Opel Astra GTC and hopefully a version of the upcoming Insignia based coupe.

Subaru is set to officially unveil its version of the rear-wheel-drive coupe that it has developed with Toyota at the Tokyo Motor Show this December. The Subaru version will go on sale early next year and according to Toshio Masuda, a Subaru senior general manager of product planning, an STI version will eventually be available. But unlike the STI variant of the Impreza, the STI version of the new coupe will not be getting a turbocharger.

Subaru's STI package usually includes turbocharging, a sport-tuned suspension, lower profile tires and bigger brakes. A turbo version of the coupe is probably not in the cards since the original concept of the car involved keeping the engine naturally aspirated.

The coupe is expected to be powered by Subaru's new 2.0L four-cylinder boxer engine.

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