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October 2011 Archives

October 3, 2011

GM's U.S. Sales Rose 20 Percent Last Month

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GM's sales for September have just been reported with a total 207,145 vehicles sold in the U.S. That's a 20 percent increase over the same period last year.

"For GM, all of the factors that say this is a good time to buy a new vehicle outweigh the bad news that appears to be slowing down the broader economic recovery," said Don Johnson, vice president, U.S. Sales Operations. "We're well positioned going forward because we have momentum and another wave of fuel-efficient passenger cars launching over the next several months at Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac."

Sales of GM's passenger car sales increased 12 percent, crossover sales increased 7 percent and truck sales, which include full-size pickups and SUVs, increased 34 percent.

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2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas Starts at $26,155

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Honda has announced the pricing for the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas, which was formally known as the Civic GX. The 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas starts at $26,155 and arrives in dealerships this month.

The Civic Natural Gas is powered by a modified version of the 1.8L four-cylinder that powers the other Civic models. It is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission and gets 27/38 mpg. Compared to the previous model, city fuel economy is up by 12.5 percent and highway fuel economy is improved by 5.5 percent. Although the Civic Natural Gas may not be as efficient as the Civic Hybrid, the Civic Natural Gas currently qualifies for a state-issued decal allowing single-occupant access to High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) "carpool" lanes in California and several other states.

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High-Performance Tesla Model S to Reach 0-60 MPH in Under 4.5 Seconds

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Tesla is hard at work on the Model S sedan and now comes word that Tesla is also going to make a high-performance version, which will be available at the same time as the regular sedan.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk broke the news at a recent press event at the former Toyota NUMMI facility in Fremont, California. The standard Tesla Model S reaches 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds, but the high-performance version will see that time drop below 4.5 seconds.

"That's quicker than a [Porsche] 911 [Carrera]," joked Musk. "Not bad for an electric luxury sedan."

The $80,000 high-performance Model S will feature the same 85 kilowatt-hour, 300 mile range battery pack as the standard Model S.

Musk also confirmed plans to offer aerodynamic wheels on the Tesla Model S that will increase its range to 320 miles. "There were some skeptics who said we couldn't do a 300 mile range, but we're going to do better than that. We're going to offer 320 mile range, as tested on the EPA 2 cycle test."

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VIDEO: 2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Shows You What its Got!

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Ford has released a new video of the 2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor that shows off the updates that the truck has received for the new model year. The off-road version of the F-150 pickup gets a new Torsten front differential, front camera and hill-descent control.

Check out the video after the jump...

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

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September's sales numbers are in Detroit's automakers had a great month with Chrysler up 27.2 percent, GM up 19.6 percent and Ford's sales improving 8.9 percent. Honda and Toyota's production is now back to normal following the earthquake in March, but both automakers still have supply issues, which are hurting sales. Toyota was down 17.5 percent and Honda's sales were off by 8.0 percent. Japan's other big automaker, Nissan saw its sales rise by 23.5 percent last month.

September's Top-10 list remains largely unchanged from the month before it, with nine out of the ten models making it the list again. The only new model on September's list was the Honda CR-V, which had a 9.5 percent improvement over August.

Check out the list after the jump.

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October 4, 2011

Rich People Love the Chevy Volt?

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Sales of the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid have been ramping up with sales increasing 240 percent in September. Last month GM sold 723 Volts, which is up from 302 units in August and since production kicked off in late 2010, about 4,500 units have found homes.

GM is currently producing 150 units a day and has a goal of selling 10,000 Volts by the end of 2011. The Volt also bringing a new type of buyer to the Chevy brand. According to GM buyers with an average income of $175,000 are flocking to the Volt. With a starting price near $40k, could the Volt become a new status symbol?

GM also reports that eighty-percent of Volt sales are also conquest sales, with the Toyota Prius being the most-traded in vehicle. Although GM hopes to sell 10,000 units this year and most Volt buyers are trading in their old Priuses, Toyota has nothing to worry about. It will take a lot more for the Volt to steal the top-selling title from the Prius.

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Fiat Announces New 300-Hp 1.8L Alfa Romeo Engine

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Fiat has announced plans for a new 1.8L turbocharged engine for the Alfa Romeo brand. According to Fiat the new high-performance engine will employ direct-injection and turbocharging technologies to put out a peak 300 horsepower.

The first model to get the new 1.8L engine will be the Alfa Romeo 4C coupe that is slated to be released in mid-2013. We were given our first preview of the 4C at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. After the 4C, the engine will be used in Giulia midsize sedan and wagon. The exciting news is that the engine has been designed to be complaint with both Europe and the U.S. emissions standards.

Harald Wester, Fiat's chief technology officer and head of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands stated, "This is an extremely important step for Alfa Romeo, as we continue to reposition our brand and prepare it for global distribution. The United States remains our primary objective as we prepare for a 2013 introduction of our models."

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Mitsubishi May Resurrect the Eclipse

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After 22 years the once popular Mitsubishi Eclipse is dead, but it may not be dead for long. Greg Adams, Mitsubishi Motors North America's vice president-marketing and product planning, recently stated to Ward's Auto that the Eclipse "always comes back around sooner or later."

Does that mean that we could see a new Eclipse in the near future? Nothing has been confirmed. The Eclipse competes in a category that has "peaked" according to Adams. In order for a new Eclipse to get the green light a business case must be approved, which also means that "there needs to be sufficient market demand." In 2002 Mitsubishi sold 72,040 Eclipses, but through August of this year only 6,721 units were sold.

The Eclipse was launched in 1989 and Mitsubishi sold 982,024 units in the U.S. since it was released.

Mitsubishi is also slated to discontinue the production of the Galant midsize sedan at its Normal, Illinois plant before 2013. There is a possibility for a replacement...

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VIDEO: Nissan Announces GT-R Powered Juke-R

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Have you ever dreamed of seeing the Nissan GT-R's 3.8L twin-turbo V6 under the hood of another Nissan model? Maybe the Nissan Z? Well Nissan has done it, but in a model that is a little unexpected. Nissan's engineers have managed to fit the 3.8L V6 from the GT-R under the hood of the Juke crossover to create the Juke-R "The Ultimate Compact Crossover."

Nissan calls the Juke-R the first ever super crossover. The one-off concept features the GT-R's 3.8L V6, six-speed gearbox and a modified GT-R 4WD driveline. The Juke-R also gets flared wheel arches, revised front and rear bumpers, a unique split rear wing and 20-inch RAYS forged alloy rims.

The Juke-R is fully road legal, but don't expect to see it enter production, but it could lead to a future high-performance Juke.

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GM Launches All-New Chevy Malibu in Korea

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GM has announced that the all-new Chevy Malibu will get its first launch in the Korean market when it goes on sale next month.

"Korea is the first country to produce and sell the all-new Malibu," said GM Korea President and CEO Mike Arcamone. "With expressive styling, a comfortable cabin, outstanding ride and handling, and top-notch safety, it will exceed the expectations of consumers."

The U.S. launch of 2013 Malibu will take place in the first quarter of 2012.

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Volvo C70 Production to End in 2013, No Successor Planned

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Volvo has announced plans to close its plant in Uddevalla, Sweden in 2013, which is the plant that produces the C70 convertible.

The Uddevalla plant is co-owned with Pininfarina, but the plant is currently only producing 65 percent of its capacity. The plant only produced 10,000 cars last year. Due to the low volumes the plant is going to be closed.

Volvo's CEO Stefan Jacoby stated, "A car manufacturer of Volvo's size cannot, from a financial standpoint, justify a plant that manufactures one single model in the low volumes we have today."

Volvo and Pininfarina have decided to end the joint venture and Volvo is going to buy out Pininfarina in 2013, then the plant will be closed.

A successor for the C70 convertible is not planned.

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All-New Ford Escape to Get 4-Cyl EcoBoost Engines... No More V6

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Ford is set to release an all-new 2013 Ford Escape early next year and although we have yet to see the all-new 2013 Escape, Ford has announced what we can expect to see under the hood. Ford's EcoBoost engines continue to filter throughout the Ford lineup, which means that we will also see them used in the Escape.

The all-new Escape will offer a choice of three different four-cylinder engines, which includes the new 1.6- and 2.0-liter EcoBoost engines and a 2.5-liter Ti-VCT four-cylinder.

"Expanding the availability of EcoBoost technology in the all-new Ford Escape will give customers a great range of choices for the fuel efficiency and performance they want in a small SUV," said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Powertrain Engineering. "This advanced technology in the new Escape delivers on our commitment to provide class-leading fuel efficiency in every new Ford product."

The 1.6L EcoBoost is expected to have the feel of a larger engine, but get better gas mileage than the current Escape Hybrid, which gets 31 mpg. The 2.0L EcoBoost will deliver the feel of a V6 engine without the fuel economy penalties.

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2012 VW Golf R Officially Packs 256-HP and Starts at $33,990

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VW is finally bringing the high-performance Golf R to the U.S. early next year. VW has just announced the pricing and official specs for the 2012 Golf R, which starts at $33,990.

The Golf R is powered by an updated version of the EA113 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, rather than the EA888 engine used in the current GTI. It packs 256 horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque compared to only 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft. of torque in the GTI. Even with 256 horsepower under the hood the Golf R is expected to get 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual and VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

The Golf R is available as a two or four-door. It comes standard with Bi-Xenon headlights, leather seats, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker audio system. The Sunroof and Navigation package starts at 35,490 for the two-door model and includes a sunroof, navigation system, push button start and 300-watt audio system. The four-door with the Sunroof and Navigation package starts at $36,090.

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October 5, 2011

2012 Chevy Colorado Debuts in Thailand

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The all-new 2012 Chevy Colorado midsize pickup is having its world debut in Thailand. The new Colorado was previewed earlier this year with the Colorado Show Truck concept. The 2012 Colorado will be offered in single-, extended- and crew-cab bodies in high- and low-stance configurations, wide- and narrow-body options, as well as two- and four-wheel-drive configurations.

In Thailand buyers will be able to choose from two Duramax diesel four-cylinder engines. There is a 2.5L with 150 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and a 2.8L with 180 horsepower and 346 lb-ft. of torque.

"Thailand is excited to be the first market in the world to introduce the all-new Colorado, which represents GM's most significant play in the midsize pickup truck market ever," Apfel said. "This is a vehicle built tough for the people of Thailand, by the people of Thailand. It is a truck of which Thailand can be proud."

GM hasn't announced if the all-new Colorado will be coming to the U.S., but there is word from the United Auto Workers that it is being considered.

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Honda Claims That the Ridgeline isn't Going Away

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Lately there have been reports that Honda is going to soon kill off the Ridgeline pickup, but according to Sage Marie, manager of truck product planning at American Honda, those reports are false.

Marie claims that the Ridgeline still plays an important role in the Honda lineup and there are no plans to discontinue it in the foreseeable future. Sales of the Ridgeline have dropped significantly this year. With only 6,500 units being sold in the first nine months of this year compared to 12,700 sold in the same period in 2010. The March earthquake in Japan did stop production of the Ridgeline for three months, but its hard to solely place the blame on the earthquake for the lower sales. The Ridgeline was released in 2005 and hasn't had any large updates.

For the 2012 model year the Ridgeline received some styling updates, improved fuel efficiency and a new Sport model.

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2012 Mazda3 with SkyActiv Starts at $18,450

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Mazda has announced the pricing for the refreshed 2012 Mazda3, which starts at $15,200 for the Mazda3 i SV sedan. The Mazda3 i SV is powered by a 148 horsepower MZR 2.0L engine, but the bigger news is the introduction of the 2.0L SkyActiv engine that gets 40 mpg.

To get the new SkyActiv engine you have to step up to the Mazda3 i Touring models, which starts at $18,450 for the sedan. The SkyActiv 2.0L engine packs 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft. of torque. The all-new engine offers five percent more horsepower than the standard MZR 2.0-liter engine as well as 10 percent more peak torque, 15 percent more low- to mid-range torque and up to 21 percent better fuel economy. The hatchback is also available with the SkyActiv engine and starts at $18,950.

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October 6, 2011

Jeep Grand Cherokee to Get ZF 8-Speed Auto

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The Jeep Grand Cherokee is slated to be the next Chrysler model to get the new ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. The eight-speed transmission has already been confirmed for the V6 versions of the 2012 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is expected to get the new transmission next year and it's also been revealed that a nine-speed transmission is also possible in the future.

Jeep CEO Mike Manley recently told Autocar, "Our approach to lowering CO2 is a deployment of lots of different technologies," he said. "Hybrids, improved aerodynamics, more diesels, eight-speed gearboxes and nine-speed gearboxes for front-wheel-drive cars will all help us improve economy and CO2."

Jeep also confirmed that the eight-speed transmission can be applied to all the engines in the Grand Cherokee lineup, so it's a good possibility that the Grand Cherokee SRT8 will also get the new transmission.

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2013 Shelby GT500 to Get 5.8L Supercharged V8

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Ford and the United Auto Workers recently signed a new four year contract, which will see a $6.3 billion investment in Ford's U.S. factories. The new contract also gives us some details about the 2013 Shelby GT500.

There have been rumors that the next GT500 would get a 5.8L supercharged V8 to go head to head with the Camaro ZL1 and the latest contract between Ford and the UAW confirms this. Part of the contract states that Ford's Romeo Engine Assembly Plant will receive a $50 million investment and will produce the 5.8L supercharged V8 for the 2013 Shelby GT500.

It's expected that the 2013 Shelby GT500 will pack over 600 horsepower.

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2014 Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain Crossovers to Get eAssist Hybrid System

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GM's eAssist hybrid system has been tasked with improving the fuel efficiency of some of GM's models like the Buick Regal and upcoming 2013 Chevy Malibu. It's also being reported that the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers will also get the eAssist system for the 2014 model year.

GMI is reporting that the GM crossovers will get the same system as the Buick Regal, LaCrosse and Chevy Malibu sedans. It was originally planned that the crossovers wouldn't get the eAssist system until their full redesign later this decade, but due to the extra supply GM is anticipating, the system will be offered sooner. The 2013 Chevy Malibu is launching with the eAssist system in the Malibu Eco, but once the new 2.5L Malibu is released later in 2012, GM expects demand for the Eco model to drop. In order to keep production of the eAssist system steady, the system is going to be offered in the crossovers.

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October 7, 2011

Mazda Sends off the RX-8 with RX-8 Spirit R Edition

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Mazda has announced that the Mazda RX-8 will soon end its production run, but before the RX-8 says goodbye, Mazda has announced the Spirit R special edition model. Mazda is going to produce 1,000 units of the Spirit R Edition that will go on sale in Japan on November 24, 2011.

The Spirit R Edition based on the RX-8 Type RS (with six-speed manual transmission) and Type E (with six-speed automatic transmission). It is named after the final limited edition Mazda RX-7. All versions of the Spirit R Edition get head and taillights with black bezels, red brake calipers and Spirit R badging. The six-speed manual version gets bucket seats from Recaro and 19-inch bronze alloy wheels. The six-speed automatic equipped model gets black leather seats with red stitching, a sports suspension with larger brakes and 18-inch gun metallic alloy wheels.

There are three exterior colors for the RX-8 Spirit Edition: Aluminum Metallic, Sparkling Black Mica and Crystal White Pearl Mica.

Production of the RX-8 ends in June 2012.

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Hotter Range Rover Evoque in the Works with 300-HP

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Range Rover is reportedly mulling the idea of a more powerful version of its recently introduced Evoque. According to Autocar the high-performance version of the Evoque is powered by the same Ford-derived 2.0L as the standard Evoque, but it packs a higher pressure turbo to give it 300 horsepower, up from the current 237.

Evoque program director David Mitchell has been driving around in an Evoque prototype with the upgraded engine and he states that the chassis can handle the extra power.

The only big dilemma is how to badge a high-performance version of the Evoque, since Range Rover does not currently have a performance sub-brand.

Continue reading "Hotter Range Rover Evoque in the Works with 300-HP" »

Cadillac ATS and Chevy Malibu to Share Turbocharged 2.0L

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It's already been reported that the all-new 2013 Chevy Malibu will not be getting a V6 when it is released in the U.S. early next year. GM has already unveiled the eAssist and 2.5L versions, but we have yet to hear what GM has in store as a replacement for the current V6.

GMI is reporting that the Malibu is set to get a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder that it will share with the upcoming Cadillac ATS. The 2.0L turbocharged engine will be all-new and part of GM's new family of Ecotec four-cylinders. It's expected that the engine will put out between 270-280 horsepower.

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October 9, 2011

Hyundai Veloster PM Lifestyle Concept to Debut at SEMA

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Hyundai and PM Lifestyle have teamed up to show off the aftermarket potential of the 2012 Hyundai Veloster with the PM Lifestyle Veloster that will debut at the SEMA show next month in Las Vegas.

The PM Lifestyle Veloster features a carbon-fiber hood, Konig Deception wheels and a custom leather interior. It also gets additions like an AEM cold air intake, Magnaflow exhaust, a coilover suspension and nitrous kit.

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October 10, 2011

GM Confirms All-New Chevy Colorado Will be Sold in the U.S.

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There was already speculation that GM would sell its all-new Chevy Colorado in the U.S., but GM had not confirmed any plans for the truck that was unveiled last week. Well now GM has officially confirmed that the new Colorado will be sold here.

GM hasn't released any other details, but it's expected that the next-gen Colorado will be built at GM's Wentzville, Missouri plant and that it will arrive in 2013.

"The new Chevrolet Colorado is generating a lot of excitement as we begin its launch in Thailand," said Chris Perry, vice president, global marketing and strategy for Chevrolet. "We think the design, capability and fuel efficiency of the new Colorado will make it attractive to U.S. customers."

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Dodge Grand Caravan and Avenger to be Replaced by a Crossover

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According to a recent interview with Automotive News, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has confirmed that the current Dodge Grand Caravan and Avenger models will be replaced by a single crossover in 2013.

The plan is an effort by Chrysler to ends its duplicate models like the current Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans. Chrysler is going to only offer one minivan, the Town & Country, which is due in 2014. The Dodge Grand Caravan will be replaced by a new crossover that will be based on a Fiat platform.

The Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger twins will also end as Chrysler is only planning on continuing with the 200, which will get redesigned in 2013.

Hyundai i30 Plug-in Hybrid to be Released in 2013

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It's being reported that Hyundai is currently working on a plug-in hybrid version of its new i30. The Hyundai i30 plug-in hybrid would be a direct competitor to the Prius plug-in.

Auto Motor und Sport is reporting that the i30 plug-in hybrid will debut in late 2012 and will launch sometime in 2013 in Europe.

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2013 Chevy Camaro ZL1 Convertible is the Most Powerful Chevy Convertible Ever

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GM has announced the introduction of the most powerful Chevy convertible ever, the 2013 Chevy Camaro ZL1. The 2013 Chevy Camaro ZL1 convertible is slated to debut at the LA Auto Show next month and will go on sale in late 2012.

"The Camaro ZL1 convertible will be one of the most powerful and most capable, convertibles available at any price," said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. "This is a car that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you drop the top - or hit the gas."

The Camaro ZL1 convertible is powered by the same supercharged 6.2L "LSA" engine as the coupe. It packs 580 horsepower and 556 lb-ft. of torque.

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All-New BMW 3 Series to Debut on Oct 14th

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BMW has announced that the all-new BMW 3 Series sedan will have its world debut on Friday October 14th at BMW's plant in Munich.

The unveiling of the all-new BMW 3 Series sedan will be broadcast by livestream on Facebook via the link http://www.facebook.com/BMWGroup?sk=app_251023654929514 from 4.00 pm.

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VIDEO: Jennifer Lopez Drives to the Bronx in a Fiat 500C

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Fiat has released its second commercial that features Jennifer Lopez driving around in a Fiat 500C.

The commercial, titled "My World," is voiced-over by Lopez, who is seen driving a Fiat 500 Cabrio as she travels through the streets of Manhattan to the Bronx. The commercial is voiced over by Lopez and "explores her personal take on how life in the New York City borough continues to inspire her to be tougher, to stay sharper and to think faster."

Olivier Francois - Head of Fiat and Chief Marketing Officer and Brand Marketing Communications, Chrysler Group LLC stated, "The commercial tells the story of how the simple elements of our upbringing can help explain who we are, where we're going and serve as a source of inspiration to achieve our goals in life. That drive and determination is the common thread that is shared with the Fiat brand and our philosophy that 'Life is Best When Driven.'"

Does this commercial make you want to go out an buy a Fiat 500?

Continue reading "VIDEO: Jennifer Lopez Drives to the Bronx in a Fiat 500C" »

October 11, 2011

Bentley's Upcoming SUV to Get 12-Cyl Engine

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It's already been reported that Bentley is hard at work on a new SUV for its lineup. Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer recently confirmed to Autocar that the SUV will be powered by a 12-cylinder engine.

"We will be first to use a 12-cylinder petrol engine in a luxury SUV. I like this idea; it makes clear whose car is the boss."

The 12-cylinder engine will most likely be a revised version of the W12 engine that powers the Continental line (above). Although Dürheimer confirmed that the Bentley SUV will get a 12-cylinder gasoline engine, it's possible that it will also get a 12-cylinder diesel engine as well.

The Bentley SUV is expected to launch in 2015.

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VIDEO: Infiniti to Produce FX Sebastian Vettel Edition

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Infiniti has announced plans to produce the FX Sebastian Vettel version of the FX50 crossover that it created for its new ambassador Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel helped Infiniti create a special version of the Infiniti FX50 that features a 420 horsepower V8 and lots of carbon fiber pieces to increase the crossover's downforce and to make it lighter.

The news was broke by Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer at a recent interview. According to Palmer the the FX Sebastian Vettel edition is a "kind of pilot for IPL, the Infiniti Performance Line. It's about being able to do our equivalent of AMG or M-series, and we wanted to test the organization. Can the organization cope with these kind of special versions?"

More details about the production version of the FX Sebastian Vettel Edition will be released later this year.

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Hyundai May Bring Two Five-Door Models to the U.S.

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Hyundai is reportedly trying to decide if the U.S. will get the upcoming five-door version of the new Hyundai Veloster that it is developing for sale in Europe. The Veloster currently only has one driver's side door and two doors on the passenger side, but Hyundai is planning a version with two doors on each side (five-door) for right-hand drive markets, like the U.K.

Hyundai is also considering bringing the recently introduced Hyundai i30 to the U.S. as the next Elantra Touring. According to recent comments from company spokespeople, Hyundai doesn't see any overlap between the two models.

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October 12, 2011

VIDEO: 2013 Cadillac ATS Hits the Nürburgring

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The 2013 Cadillac ATS recently hit the famed Nürburgring for two weeks in September. GM has released a new video of the Cadillac ATS that is the first official glimpse of the new compact sedan.

The rear-wheel-drive 2013 Cadillac ATS sedan is slated to arrive in the summer of 2012 and will go head to head with the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It's expected to be offered with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder and a 3.6L V6. A coupe version of the ATS will arrive sometime around 2015.

Check out the video after the jump.

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GM Announces 2013 Chevy Trailblazer

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GM has announced plans to introduce an all-new 2013 Chevy Trailblazer midsize SUV that will be based on the same platform as the new Colorado midsize pickup.

The all-new Trailblazer will be introduced in Thailand in early 2012, but will be unveiled at the Dubai International Motor Show on November 10. GM has released the teaser photo that you see here. Although it's going first to go on sale in markets outside the U.S., don't be surprised to see it eventually be offered here as well.

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2013 Chevy Spark Mini-Car Officially Heads to the U.S.

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GM has officially unveiled the 2013 Chevy Spark mini-car that will be joining Chevy's U.S. lineup. The Chevy Spark is a five-door, four-passenger hatchback that is three feet longer than a Smart Fortwo, but 14 inches shorter than the Chevy Sonic.

"For young, urban dwellers, the 2013 Chevrolet Spark can be their key to the city," said Chris Perry, vice president, global Chevrolet marketing and strategy. "Spark's vibrant exterior and interior colors make a statement, but it is a practical car, too. Affordable, maneuverable and very fuel-efficient, Spark will be easy to own and easy to drive."

The 2013 Chevy Spark will be powered by a 83 horsepower 1.2L four-cylinder engine that can be mated to a five-speed manual or automatic transmission.

Continue reading "2013 Chevy Spark Mini-Car Officially Heads to the U.S." »

October 13, 2011

GM Announces New Small Engine Family

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GM has announced a new global line of small engine-displacement Ecotec engines that will feature improved fuel economy, higher quality, better performance and reduced carbon dioxide emissions.

The new global engine family consists of three and four-cylinder engines with displacements ranging from 1.0L to 1.5L. The engines will feature technologies such as direct injection, turbocharging and alternative fuel compatibility.

"Our customers around the world agree we need to reduce our dependence on petroleum and reduce vehicle carbon emissions," said Jim Federico, vehicle line executive for GM global small cars and electric vehicles. "We are working aggressively on vehicle electrification and other technologies, but the most immediate progress will come from continually improving the internal combustion engine."

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Next-Gen Nissan Altima Gets Supercharged Hybrid and New CVT

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The next-generation Nissan Altima midsize sedan is expected to be released next year and its being reported that Nissan has some big changes in store to improve its fuel economy ratings.

The new Altima is slated to get a new CVT that will improve its fuel efficiency by 10 percent over the current transmission. Nissan is also planning to introduce its first in-house hybrid drivetrain for front-wheel-drive cars in the Altima. The current Altima hybrid uses a Toyota-based system, but the next-gen Altima will get a hybrid system based on the hybrid powertrain in the rear-wheel-drive Infiniti M hybrid. The Altima hybrid will use a two-clutch, one-motor system mated to a supercharged 4-cyl engine.

The future of the Altima hybrid was in question when Nissan recently announced plans to stop selling the current Altima hybrid at the end of this year. The next Altima hybrid is due in 2013.

Continue reading "Next-Gen Nissan Altima Gets Supercharged Hybrid and New CVT" »

VW to Unveil Two New Production Models in LA

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VW has announced plans to unveil two new production models at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month. The two new models will have their global debut at the show, which means that this will be the first time the world will ever see them.

What will they be? There's a good chance that one of the new models will be a convertible version of the 2012 Beetle. It's less certain what the other model will be, although it could be the three-row crossover that VW is rumored to be working on.

Stay tuned...

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GM Has No Plans to Bring the 2013 Chevy Trailblazer to the U.S.

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Yesterday GM announced plans to introduce a new Chevy Trailblazer for the 2013 model year. The new midsize SUV will be built on the same platform as the recently unveiled Chevy Colorado pickup.

The Trailblazer will be launched in Thailand in early 2012 and although GM is also launching the Colorado in Thailand before it hits the U.S., GM reportedly has no plans to bring the Trailblazer here.

Even though GM claims that the body-on-frame Trailblazer isn't destined for the U.S. don't be surprised if GM changes its mind in the future...

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October 14, 2011

Supercharged Hyundai Genesis Hurricane SC Heads to SEMA

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Lately it seems like Hyundai may seem to be focusing all of its attention on the new Veloster, but don't forget that Hyundai also has the more powerful Genesis coupe. To show off the performance potential of the Genesis coupe, Hyundai has teamed up with Magnuson Products, Rhys Millen Racing, Harman International and Torvec Inc. to develop and build a special edition prototype Genesis Coupe, the Genesis Hurricane SC.

HATCI, Hyundai's design, technology and engineering branch, is going to show off the Genesis Hurricane SC at the SEMA show next month. The special edition Genesis coupe is powered by a supercharged 3.8L V6 that packs more than 450 horsepower. Torvec has also added its IsoTorque differential for improved handling and traction capability. Thanks to the differential the Genesis coupe delivers nearly a one second per lap improvement in the Genesis Coupe on the Hyundai road course.

The exterior of the Genesis Hurricane SC gets modified thanks to Rhys Millen Racing, which has provided exterior enhancements including a front bumper, grille, hood, side skirts, diffuser and rear deck with spoiler.

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BMW Unveils the All-New 2012 3 Series Sedan in Munich

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The sixth-generation 2012 BMW 3 Series has been unveiled in Munich. The big news for the new 3 Series is the return of a four-cylinder engine in the 328i. BMW hasn't offered a four-cylinder engine in a US-spec 3 Series in over ten years.

The all-new 2012 3 Series sedan has been stretched 3.66 inches, the wheelbase is longer at 1.96 inches and the track has been widened. This all translates to more rear leg and knee room, which was a problem in the last generation. Although the new 3 Series is bigger, it's 88 lbs lighter.

On the outside the 3 Series gets styling that is pretty familiar to the new 1, 5, and 7 Series models.

Under the hood, the 2012 3 Series sedan gets an engine lineup that is all turbocharged. The 328i says goodbye to the six-cylinder engine and is now powered by a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder that pumps out 240 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque. It reaches 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds. The turbocharged six-cylinder returns in the 335i and generates 300 horsepower and reaches 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds.

BMW is also going to release a hybrid version of the 3 Series that will arrive in 2012.

Continue reading "BMW Unveils the All-New 2012 3 Series Sedan in Munich" »

October 17, 2011

BMW ActiveHybrid 3 Packs 335 HP and Gets 37 MPG

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BMW officially unveiled the all-new 2012 BMW 3 Series sedan on Friday. While the 328i and 335i models return, BMW also unveiled the hybrid version of the 3 Series, dubbed the ActiveHybrid 3.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is powered by the twin-turbocharged 3.0L inline six-cylinder mated to an electric motor and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It puts out a total 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft. of torque. According to BMW it consumes less than 6.4 liters per 100 kilometers (36.7 mpg) on the EU test cycle.

The ActiveHybrid 3 can drive up to 2.5 miles and at speeds up 37 mph on electric power alone. BMW chose to place the battery in the ActiveHybrid 3 under the floor of the trunk, which means that the rear seat can still be folded down.

The ActiveHybrid 3 will be released in the fall of 2012.

Continue reading "BMW ActiveHybrid 3 Packs 335 HP and Gets 37 MPG" »

Honda Gives the 2012 Insight a Refresh

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Honda has unveiled the updates to the 2012 Honda Insight, which includes a refreshed exterior and interior and slightly better fuel efficiency.

The exterior of the Insight gets updates that includes: restyled front and rear bumpers, a new grille, new headlights and taillights and restyled wheels. The new bumpers and changes under the vehicle, contribute to a 2-percent increase in aerodynamic performance.

The Insight's interior gets updated with a reconfigured rear seat area for better leg and head room, a redesigned gauge cluster background, new beverage holders that fit larger drinks and a more supportive front armrest.

The 2012 Insight is now a little more fuel efficient with a 41/44/42 mpg fuel economy rating, up from 40/43/41. It's powered by a 1.3-liter 4-cyl engine that's mated to a 10-kilowatt electric motor and a CVT.

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Toyota Prius C Photos Leaked?

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Toyota gave us a preview of its new smaller Prius model, the Prius C with the Prius C concept earlier this year. When the Prius C is released it will be sold alongside the standard Prius and larger Prius V models. Although we saw the Prius C concept in Detroit at the beginning of the year, Toyota hasn't given us a look at the production version. Yay for photo leaks, since we now have our first unofficial look.

A brochure for the Prius C has apparently leaked onto the internet, so here's your first look at the baby Prius. From these photos it looks like the Prius C has adopted some of the styling cues from the larger Prius V and standard Prius models. It's definitely not as fun looking as the concept. Overall the Prius C won't be larger than the Toyota Yaris.

According to the brochure the Prius C will be powered by a 1.4L four-cyl mated to an electric motor. The US-spec Prius C is expected to debut in Detroit in January with sales starting this coming spring.

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October 18, 2011

Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid will be Released in 2012

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Volvo has announced that the V60 Plug-in Hybrid that was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, will enter production next year.

The Volvo V60 Plug-in hybrid will be the first diesel plug-in hybrid when it hits the market. The car is being produced thanks to a partnership between Volvo and Swedish energy supplier Vattenfall.

"One important aspect of the project was to retain the Volvo V60's excellent driving pleasure, high safety standard and luxurious comfort. At the same time, average CO2 emissions and fuel consumption will be halved compared with what is available on the market today," says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation.

The V60 Plug-in hybrid is powered by a 2.4L five-cylinder diesel engine that will be mated to an electric motor and a 12kWh lithium-ion battery. The diesel engine sends its power to the front wheels, while the electric motor powers the rear. The V60 plug-in hybrid will have an overall driving range of 746 miles. The driver of the plug-in hybrid can choose between three driving models. Pure mode is the electric only driving mode that has a range of about 31 miles. Hybrid mode combines both motors, but aims to keep fuel consumption low, while Power mode is the fun mode that is more focused on outright performance.

Volvo has yet to announce the official pricing

Continue reading "Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid will be Released in 2012" »

First All-New Chevy Malibu Rolls off the Line in Korea

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The first all-new Chevy Malibu has been produced in Korea at GM's plant in Incheon. The eighth-generation Chevy Malibu will go on sale in Korea first before it hits the rest of the world.

"The new Malibu is our most important product introduction of the year," GM Korea President and CEO Mike Arcamone said. "It will play a significant role in enabling us to attain our goals in the domestic market while ensuring that GM Korea becomes an important part of Chevrolet's success in its second century."

The U.S. is slated to get the 2013 Chevy Malibu in the first quarter of 2012.

Continue reading "First All-New Chevy Malibu Rolls off the Line in Korea" »

2012 Fiat 500 Named IIHS Top Safety Pick

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The 2012 Fiat 500 is the latest model to receive the Insurance Institute for Highway Dafety's Top Safety Pick award for good performance in front, side, rollover, and rear impact evaluations, and for having electronic stability control as standard equipment.

The award only applies to Fiat 500 models that were built after July 2011 because the driver's seat structure was modified to improve occupant protection in both frontal and rear-end crashes.

The only other mini-car to receive the top award is the Ford Fiesta.

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BMW Will Bring the Next-Gen 3 Series Wagon to the U.S.

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There has been some speculation that BMW would not be bringing a wagon variant of the new 2012 3 Series to the U.S.,just as its done with the 5 Series wagon. According to the latest reports, BMW will in fact be bringing the 3 Series Touring to the U.S., but we will have to wait a bit.

The 3 Series Touring is expected to debut sometime within the next year in Europe, while the coupe/ convertible versions will arrive in late 2013.

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Porsche Confirms Release of the Cajun SUV in Late 2013

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Porsche has confirmed that production of its newest SUV, the Cajun will commence at the end of 2013.

The announcement was part of Porsche's announcement about plans to expand its production facility in Leipzig, Germany that will produce the Cajun.

"We are investing another 500 million euro [$684.9 million] in the production facility to build the Cajun in Leipzig. This is not just a mark of confidence in the manufacturing skills of our Leipzig colleagues, but also an important contribution to the economic development of the region," said Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board of Management.

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October 19, 2011

GM Has No Plans for a Chevy Malibu Coupe

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GM is set to debut the all-new 2013 Chevy Malibu sedan in the U.S. early next year, but even though Honda and Nissan offer coupe versions of their midsize sedans, GM has no plans for a Malibu coupe.

It was reported that GM was mulling the idea of offering a coupe version of the new Malibu, but according to Ed Welburn, GM's vice president of global design, it is not currently in the works.

Welburn recently told Inside Line, "A Malibu coupe could be a pretty nice car. But it is not in the plan right now."

Michael Albano, Chevy's PR chief also stated in an email about the Malibu coupe, "No plans at this moment for anything more than a sedan."

Continue reading "GM Has No Plans for a Chevy Malibu Coupe" »

2012 Ferrari FF Offered by Neiman Marcus for $395,000

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Christmas is only two months away and if you're still trying to figure out what to ask for this year, Neiman Marcus has released its annual Christmas Book that is full of amazing and really expensive gifts.

This year the Christmas Book features a very special version of the 2012 Ferrari FF, which lists for $395,000. The standard Ferrari FF will cost you only around $300,000, but the Neiman Marcus edition is more special since only 10 units are going to be produced.

What do you get for almost $400k? Each Ferrari FF will come in a unique Grigio Caldo exterior color and the interior features a unique leather interior with matching luggage. The car also comes with a numbered plaque.

Last year Neiman Marcus offered the Chevy Camaro convertible, which reportedly sold out in three minutes.

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GM Designs the 2012 Buick Verano's Seats for Ponytails

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We all love a comfy seat either in front of the TV or in our cars. Automakers spend countless hours perfecting the seats in their models and in the case of GM, the automaker spent at least 1,000 hours developing the seats in the 2012 Buick Verano.

What did GM's engineers do exactly for 1,000 hours? According to GM, the engineers worked hard to prevent "hot spots" from happening on long drives and to design the headrests in such a way to prevent them from messing up your hair. Yup the Verano's seats will cuddle your bum and at the same time not mess up your ponytail.

"When we set out to design a comfortable interior for Verano our goal was for customers to feel like vacation begins as soon as they get in the car, and not when they reach their destination," said Brian Schell, Verano program engineering manager. "By making comfort our first priority, we were able to create seats that will make customers feel more at ease and connected to the car for a more-satisfying ride experience."

Continue reading "GM Designs the 2012 Buick Verano's Seats for Ponytails" »

GM's Holden Restores its First Concept Car the 1969 Holden Hurricane

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Back in 1969 Holden revealed its first concept car, the Holden Hurricane. The concept was meant "to study design trend, propulsion systems and other long-range developments." The mid-engine, rear wheel-drive, two-seater concept featured many features and technology that were ahead of its time like an electronic digital instrument displays, station-seeking radio, automatic temperature control air conditioning, rear-vision camera and an automated route finder. 42 years later the concept has been restored.

The Hurricane wowed the crowds at its unveiling at the 1969 Melbourne Motor Show.

"At Holden we have always prided ourselves on our ability to look into the future through our concept cars," Michael Simcoe, executive director GMIO Design stated. "It's amazing to think that the features we take for granted today were born out of creative minds over 40 years ago."

The Hurricane was powered by an experimental 262 horsepower 4.2L V8 engine that featured advanced design components such as the four-barrel carburetor - a feature which wouldn't be seen on a production 253ci Holden V8 until the late 1970s.

The Holden Hurricane will be on display to the public at the Motorclassica, car show at the Melbourne Royal Exhibition Building from October 21-23.

Continue reading "GM's Holden Restores its First Concept Car the 1969 Holden Hurricane" »

October 20, 2011

Hybrid Buick Verano Coming in 2015, Turbo Set for 2013

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The 2012 Buick Verano has yet to reach showrooms, but thanks to a recent document from the Automotive News, we now know that GM is planning a hybrid version of the small sedan in 2015.

Automotive News has posted a document that shows the suppliers for the Buick Verano and it also shows future powertrains for the Verano. In 2015 the Verano is going to get a 2.5L hybrid powertrain, which will be used until 2020.

The document also reveals that the Verano will get a turbocharged 2.0L unit next year. The 2.0L engine could put out anywhere around 250 horsepower.

Continue reading "Hybrid Buick Verano Coming in 2015, Turbo Set for 2013" »

Maserati's Upcoming SUV to be Named Cinqueporte?

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Maserati gave us an official preview of its upcoming SUV in Frankfurt last month with the Kubang concept. Maserati chose to reuse the name from a previous SUV concept for the new concept, but that name may not be used for the production model.

It's being reported that Maserati recently registered the name "Cinqueporte", which may be the official name for the new SUV. Cinqueporte translates to "five doors", which provides some proof that it will be used for Maserati's SUV.

The Maserati SUV will share its platform with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but will be powered by engines from Ferrari. It will also be built alongside the Jeep at Chrysler's Jefferson North plant in Detroit, MI.

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2013 Cadillac XTS Coming to LA Next Month

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GM is reportedly going to debut the production version of the 2013 Cadillac XTS at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month. Cadillac's new flagship sedan was originally previewed by the XTS Platinum Concept at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show.

The 2013 Cadillac XTS will debut Cadillac's new CUE infotainment system. CUE, which stands for Cadillac User Experience, will pair entertainment and information data from Bluetooth-enabled phones, USBs, SD cards and MP3 players with a vehicle infotainment system that reduces complexity through customized information, natural voice commands and fewer buttons and larger icons.

"For the tech-savvy, it's everything you want it to be - a full suite of infotainment, navigation and communication tools that keeps you fully connected. For the tech-averse, its power is remarkably simple, intuitive and accessible," Don Butler, Vice President, Cadillac Marketing Butler said.

CUE will debut in 2012 in the Cadillac XTS and ATS sedans and the SRX crossover.

The XTS is expected to enter production in the spring of 2012.

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October 21, 2011

Next-Gen Mitsubishi Evo Confirmed with Hybrid Powertrain

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Earlier this year it was reported that Mitsubishi was going to kill the Lancer Evolution after the current generation was done, but those plans were quickly changed, but no details were released about what the next one will be like. Mitsubishi's president, Osamu Masuko recently confirmed to Autocar that the next-generation Mitsubishi Evo is going to go on sale within three years and that it will have a hybrid powertrain.

Masuko didn't reveal any details about the hybrid system that will power the Evo XI, but it's rumored that it will be a diesel-electric hybrid system.

Masuko stated, "We will start work on the project next year, and it will be ready within three. I have set the goal of developing a sporting car featuring electric power."

The Evo XI will also get a revised version of the S-AWC all-wheel-drive system that the Evo currently uses.

Continue reading "Next-Gen Mitsubishi Evo Confirmed with Hybrid Powertrain" »

Hyundai Announces 204-HP 1.6L Turbo, Will it Show up in the Veloster?

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It's been rumored for a while that Hyundai is working on a turbocharged engine for its recently introduced Veloster and now we may have confirmation. The 2012 Veloster is currently powered by a fuel-efficient 1.6L, which is great for people trying to save money at the pump, but it won't really excite anyone. Hyundai has just announced a new turbocharged 1.6L engine that packs 204 horsepower.

Hyundai claims that the engine took over 52 months to develop and meets California's ULEV-2 (Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle) standard, as well as Euro 5 standards.

Although Hyundai has announced the new engine, the announcement failed to mention if it will be used in the Veloster. It's more than expected, so look out for an official announcement next month at SEMA or the LA Auto Show...

Continue reading "Hyundai Announces 204-HP 1.6L Turbo, Will it Show up in the Veloster?" »

October 22, 2011

Ford Previews 2013 Escape and Uses Plastic Bottles in a New Way

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Ford is going to officially unveil the all-new 2013 Ford Escape next month at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. Ford has already announced that the new Escape will be offered with a choice of three four-cylinder engines, but Ford has also announced a new use of plastic bottles for the Escape.

The carpet inside the next-generation Escape will be made of 25 recycled 20-ounce plastic bottles.

"It's a good use of recycled product and keeps it out of landfills," said Laura Sinclair, a materials engineer for Ford.

The plastic bottles are actually used to improve the durability of the carpet. "The polyester fibers created from pop bottles make up a nonwoven carpet material," Sinclair said. "So think of it like when you make spaghetti - everything is intermixed. If you have more fibers running on each other - rather than what's underneath, which can be more abrasive - that helps reduce wear." Adding more plastic bottles to the mix helps the carpet not wear out as quickly.

Continue reading "Ford Previews 2013 Escape and Uses Plastic Bottles in a New Way" »

VIDEO: Toyota Releases New FT-86 iPhone App

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Toyota has released a new iPhone app that allows users to place computer-generated photos upcoming FT-86 sports car against real-world backdrops.

The production version of the Toyota FT-86 and the Subaru counterpart are going to be officially unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show this December.

Continue reading "VIDEO: Toyota Releases New FT-86 iPhone App" »

October 23, 2011

Ford to Unveil Custom Focus and Fiestas at SEMA

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Ford has given us a sneak preview of the customized Ford Focus and Fiesta models that it is bringing to SEMA this year.

Ford is going to be bringing seven customized Focus cars which have been customized by 2dCarbon, ROUSCH, The ID Agency, Capaldi Racing, Steeda, Bojix Design and COBB Tuning. "Millennials, which this car is all about, want to personalize every aspect of their lives - everything from laptop covers to body art, and even cars," said Mike Murphy, C-Car Marketing manager. "Being unique allows them to stand apart and be different, and all the Focus models we have on display at SEMA live up to that standard."

The Fiesta has been customized by M2-Motoring, Gold Coast Automotive and Aaron Vaccar.

Continue reading "Ford to Unveil Custom Focus and Fiestas at SEMA" »

October 24, 2011

2012 Ford F-150 Named "Truck of Texas"

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The 2012 Ford F-150 has received the Truck of Texas award from the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) at its annual Truck Rodeo.

"Texan consumers put their trust in TAWA's automotive journalists. After lining up vehicles from major auto manufacturers, our members determined Ford simply had the best trucks and crossover," said Mike Herzing, president of TAWA. "But the real winners here are Texas' truck buyers. Ford delivers the trucks that fit their lifestyles."

"These honors show Ford trucks still reign supreme in Texas, and it is rewarding to see that the truck-savvy Texas auto writers appreciate just how innovative our F-Series pickups are," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "These awards validate what our customers have been telling us about our 'Built Ford Tough' F-150, and we are honored by their recognition of the strength of our truck lineup as well as our crossovers and EcoBoost engines."

A total of 48 vehicles were entered in the rodeo and evaluated by the 57 registered TAWA members.

The 2012 Ford Edge was awarded the honor of Crossover of Texas and Best Midsize CUV of Texas.

Continue reading "2012 Ford F-150 Named "Truck of Texas"" »

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango Win Big in Texas

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The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango have been awarded the "SUV of Texas" and "Full-size SUV of Texas" awards by the Texas Auto Writers Association.

"We are delighted that the influential journalists representing the Texas Auto Writers Association have once again recognized Jeep vehicles with several awards, and particularly the Jeep Grand Cherokee as the 'SUV of Texas,'" said Mike Manley, President and CEO - Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. "Winning this award last year started a string of Grand Cherokee accolades that made it the most-awarded SUV of all-time."

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler was also named the "Mid-size SUV of Texas."

"The 2012 Dodge Durango made quite an impression at this year's TAWA Truck Rodeo," said Mike Herzing, President of TAWA. "With its spacious and refined interior, impressive driving dynamics, and class-leading towing capability, it's only fitting that the Dodge Durango is named the 2012 Full-Size SUV of Texas."

Continue reading "2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango Win Big in Texas" »

Next-Gen Subaru WRX and WRX STI Models to Move Away from the Impreza

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Subaru is launching an all-new 2012 Subaru Impreza this fall, but we have yet to see what Subaru has in store for the high-performance WRX and WRX STI variants. Automotive News is reporting that Subaru is going to separate the WRX and WRX STI from the Impreza, by dropping the Impreza name on the two high-performance models. In 2013 The WRX and WRX STI will also move to a different platform.

The move allows the Impreza sedan and five-door models to focus more on fuel-economy and interior space, two things that are important in its segment. Once the new WRX and STI are released in 2013, they will move to a new platform that will place greater emphasis on performance. While the interiors and features of the next WRX and WRX STI will also be more aligned with the models' higher price premium over the Impreza.

Continue reading "Next-Gen Subaru WRX and WRX STI Models to Move Away from the Impreza" »

Honda to Debut 2012 CR-V and 2013 Fit EV in LA

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The 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show is less than a month away. Honda has announced plans to unveil the all-new 2012 CR-V as well as the production version of the 2013 Honda Fit EV at the show.

Honda gave us a preview of the 2012 CR-V with the CR-V concept earlier this year. According to Honda, the all-new CR-V will "showcase new exterior and interior styling, improved fuel economy and added technology features."

The Honda Fit EV was originally previewed by the Fit EV concept in LA last year. Honda announced last year that the production version would be able to reach a top speed of 90 mph and have a range around 100 miles per charge using the US EPA city cycle (70 miles when applying EPA's adjustment factor).

Continue reading "Honda to Debut 2012 CR-V and 2013 Fit EV in LA" »

October 25, 2011

Mazda Takeri Concept Headed to Tokyo and Previews the Next Mazda6

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Mazda has unveiled the Mazda Takeri next-generation midsize sedan concept car, which is set to debut at the Tokyo Motor Show on December 3rd.

Last year Mazda unveiled the Shinari concept, which was our first look at Mazda's new design language, Kodo, which is Japanese for soul of motion. The new Takeri concept also uses the new design language and takes many design cues from the Shinari.

Under the hood the Takeri concept uses Mazda's new SkyActiv technology, including the new SkyActiv-D diesel engine. Other technology includes Mazda's idling stop system, i-stop, and a new regenerative braking system.

The Takeri concept is basically a preview of what can probably expect as the next Mazda6 sedan. What do you think?

Continue reading "Mazda Takeri Concept Headed to Tokyo and Previews the Next Mazda6" »

Nissan Juke-R Debuts in Spain

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Earlier this month Nissan released information about a Juke that is powered by the GT-R's 3.8L twin-turbocharged V6. Now the world has been given its first official look at the Juke-R at a debut in Malaga, Spain. The Juke-R debuted as a surprise guest at a Nissan crossover media launch.

According to Nissan the addition of the GT-R's engine has created the "world's fastest, most innovative crossover." The Juke-R packs 480 horsepower, which puts the power to the ground via an all-wheel-drive system.

Nissan is only going to create two prototypes of the Juke-R, one in left-hand and the other in right-hand drive.

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VIDEO: 2013 Cadillac ATS "Welcome to Green Hell"

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Two weeks ago GM dropped the first video of the new 2013 Cadillac ATS running laps on the Nürburgring. GM has now released the first chapter of their behind-the-scenes series at the famed German track.

GM is serious about making the ATS competitive with its German competition, like the new BMW 3 Series. The video also gives you some new shots of the exterior and interior of the ATS.

The 2013 Cadillac ATS will be released next summer.

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2012 Range Rover Evoque is Motor Trend's SUV of the Year

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Motor Trend has announced this year's winner of the SUV of the Year award, the 2012 Range Rover Evoque.

According to Motor Trend, the "Evoque transcends conventional perceptions of a sport/utility vehicle; seamlessly combining sporty styling and agility, with off-road prowess and utility."

This year the publication tested 10 SUV's, which on off-road capability and ruggedness on a three-mile course of highly-challenging terrain, a 35-mile loop filled with twisting back roads, open highways and low speed in-town driving.

"The Evoque quickly emerged as the stand-out vehicle of this year's field during our testing," said Angus MacKenzie, Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend. "Its performance against the award criteria was very strong. With its dramatic styling, refined on-road manners, and impressive off-road ability, the Evoque sets the benchmark for the fast-growing compact luxury SUV class. Land Rover has a worldwide hit on its hands with the Range Rover Evoque."

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2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport: Lexus Adds a Little More Sport

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Following the debut of the 2013 Lexus GS 350 at Pebble Beach and the hybrid GS 450h in Frankfurt, Lexus has unveiled the Lexus GS 350 F Sport ahead of its debut at SEMA.

"The GS 350 with F SPORT Package will be a distinctive offering of luxury and excitement," said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "With its dynamic handling, stopping power and true sporty feel this F Sport package will be sure to please our enthusiasts."

The 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport starts with the standard GS 350 and dials up the "sport" a bit. The F Sport package adds 19-inch wheels, F Sport-tuned Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), thicker anti-roll bars, bushing changes, and new larger front brakes with high friction pads. RWD models get 19-inch staggered width wheels and Variable Gear Ratio Steering. Inside, the all-new package also features a 16-way power driver's sport seat, unique interior design treatment and available F Sport exclusive Cabernet Red leather interior.

The F-Sport package only adds a bit more sport to the GS 350 since it is still powered by the same 3.5L V6 with 306 horsepower as the standard GS 350, but at least the package does make the sedan look more aggressive...

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October 26, 2011

2012 Kia Rio Sedan Starts at $13,400

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Last month Kia announced that the 2012 Kia Rio 5-door hatchback would start at $13,600, now we have the pricing for the sedan version of the Rio that starts at $13,400.

The 2012 Rio sedan is available in three trims: LX, EX and SX. All are powered by a 1.6L horsepower four-cylinder engine that packs 138 horsepower and that gets up to 30/40 mpg. Just like the hatchback, the Rio sedan is also available with Idle Stop and Go technology that basically turns off the engine when the Rio is not moving.

The top of the line Rio SX sedan starts at $17,500 and comes standard with metal pedals, LED front accent lights, LED taillights, a Supervision™ meter cluster, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power-folding outside mirrors and UVO powered by Microsoft® voice-activated infotainment system with rear camera display.

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Subaru BRZ to Pack More Power than the Toyota FT-86

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Next month we will finally see the Toyota FT-86/ Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ rear wheel drive coupes, but more details are starting to surface now. According to sources that spoke with Autocar, the Subaru BRZ will pack more power than the Toyota version.

How much more power? The Subaru BRZ is reportedly going to pack "less than 300 horsepower," while the FT-86 is only expected to have around 200 horsepower. Both coupes are going to be powered by a 2.0L boxer engine, but thanks to a different ECU, the Subaru coupe will be the powerful of the two coupes.

The Subaru BRZ will also differ from the FT-86 with a unique grille and bumpers. A roadster version is also a possibility in the future.

Come back for all the details from the Tokyo Motor Show next month.

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Ram 392 Quick Silver Pickup Packs 470-HP

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Chrysler's Ram has unveiled the Ram 392 Quick Silver pickup that is going to be unveiled at SEMA next week. The Ram 392 Quick Silver is the perfect compliment to that Dodge Viper sitting in your garage, well at least according to Chrysler.

The Ram 392 Quick Silver is based on the Ram R/T, but the 5.7L V8 has been thrown out. In exchange, engineers managed to squeeze a 470 horsepower 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 under the hood. It also gets a cold air intake, headers with an electronic exhaust cutout and a cat-back exhaust system. The Ram 392 Quick Silver also gets Brembo brake kit, featuring 15-inch vented rotors and six-piston calipers to keep all that power under control. The pickup rides two inches lower on 22-inch wheels.

The exterior of the Ram 392 Quick Silver is painted in a bright silver with a black roof. The mirrors and wheels are painted in red as a nice contrast. A Mopar aero kit plus a deep-cowl aluminum hood with heat extractors makes sure the truck stands out going down the road.

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2013 Audi A4 and S4 Officially Unveiled

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Audi has officially unveiled the revised 2013 A4 and S4 models, which will be available in the U.S. next June.

The Audi A4 and S4 models get updates on the outside that include a revised hood and grille and redesigned bumpers. The headlights have also been restyled and the taillights feature a new design that mimics the headlights. Although Audi made a list of revisions to the exterior the overall dimensions have not changed much.

The interior gets new steering wheels, upgraded leather seats and an MMI system that now only has four buttons compared to eight on the current model.

In Europe, Audi offers a choice of six diesel and four gasoline engines, with 23 possible engine-transmission combinations. The S4 sedan and S4 Avant are powered by a 3.0 TFSI with 333 hp and 325 lb-ft.

2013 also sees the return of an Allroad model to the Audi lineup in the U.S. with the A4 Allroad, which is based on the A4 Avant, but has seven inches of ground clearance and permanent all-wheel drive.

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October 27, 2011

Chevy Spark EV Coming in 2013 with 114-HP

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This month GM released the first details and photos of the upcoming Chevy Spark electric vehicle that is going to be released in 2013. GM announced that the Chevy Spark EV would be powered an electric motor and a nanophosphate lithium-ion battery pack, but no other specs were released.

GM has now announced that the electric motor will pack 114 horsepower.

"Electric motor development and manufacturing is another area of expertise we'll need as we expand vehicle electrification technologies to address the needs of our customers around the world," stated Larry Nitz, GM executive director of Vehicle Electrification Engineering.

The electric motor for the Spark will be produced at GM's plan in White Marsh, Maryland.

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Next-Gen Tesla Roadster Coming in 2014

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Tesla is set to release its second model the Model S sedan early next year and this fall Tesla is also going to unveil its third model, the Model X crossover. So what is the future of the Tesla Roadster?

It's being reported by Autocar that Tesla will release an all-new Roadster in 2014, which will get a new platform that doesn't borrow Lotus parts. According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the new Roadster will be based on a third-generation platform, which will be a shortened version of the platform used for the Model S.

"This platform will spawn a range of cars in the next four to five years," Musk stated. "It'll be a more mass-market platform for cars like a 3-series as well as the new Roadster. These cars will supplement the Model S range."

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Is This the Production Toyota FT-86?

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The first images of what appear to be the production version of Toyota's rear-wheel-drive FT-86 have surfaced from a Modellista brochure. Modellista is Toyota's in house design and tuning division.

The brochure shows off many of the custom bits that are going to be available for the FT-86. If this image is real, the FT-86 will retain many styling elements from the most recent concept version.

Yesterday it was reported that the Toyota FT-86 and Scion FR-S will have less power under the hood than the Subaru version.

We should know everything about the coupes at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show.

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GM Unveils Camaro and Corvette Concepts Ahead of SEMA

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The 2011 SEMA Show in Las Vegas is only a few days away. GM has unveiled the Chevy Camaro and Corvette concepts that will be shown off at the show.

"Go to any Corvette or Camaro enthusiast event and you will have a hard time finding a factory-stock vehicle," said Chris Perry, vice president, global marketing and strategy for Chevrolet. "These are cars that owners treat as canvases to express their personalization and high-performance dreams - and have been for decades. The SEMA Show is the perfect venue to test new customization concepts and to inspire new owners to start modifying their cars."

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October 28, 2011

Audi May Still Build the R4

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It's been at least four years since rumors starting circulating that Audi is going to release a an R4 that would slot in between the TT and R8 in Audi's lineup. Earlier this year reports came out that Audi had officially killed the plans for an R4, but now a new report claims that those plans are back on.

According to Auto Express an Audi insider gave strong hints that the R4 is headed for production. "If the go-ahead was given today, it would take around three years to put into production."

If it is finally released, the R4 will take styling cues from the e-tron Spyder. Expect it to be powered by Audi's 2.5L five-cylinder turbo with around 400 horsepower mated to the quattro all-wheel-drive system.

It's still not known if the R4 will be built on a shortened R8 platform or the new mid-engined chassis that debuted with the VW BlueSport concept back in 2009.

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October 29, 2011

Toyota's FT-86/ Scion FR-S Leaked Thanks to Another Brochure

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Earlier this week we got our first preview of the production version of the Toyota FT-86 thanks to a Modellista brochure that showed off the many accessories that will be available for the FT-86. Since that brochure showed the FT-86 with a bunch of added accessories, we didn't get to see what the standard FT-86/ Scion FR-S will look like...

Well here you go! Another brochure has surfaced and this time it shows off the standard version of Toyota's new rear-wheel-drive coupe.

What do you think?

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October 31, 2011

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth Officially Unveiled

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Fiat has unveiled the version of the Fiat 500 that we've been waiting for here in the U.S. The 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth takes the standard 500 and dials up the performance to create what Fiat states is "designed for track-­day enthusiasts and driving-­puristswho want the ultimate high-­performance small car with the pedigree of an exclusive Italian exotic."

The 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth will be officially unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in a few weeks. Fiat hasn't released the official specs other than stating that it will be powered by an all­‐new 1.4-­liter MultiAir Turbo engine. It will also get an Abarth-­tuned suspension and brake systems. In Europe the 500 Abarth puts out either 130 or 160 horsepower. Hopefully the US-spec version will get closer to that higher number.

Stay tuned...

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Mini Unveils the 2012 Mini Roadster

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Mini has unveiled the roadster version of the Mini Coupe that was just released. The 2012 Mini Roadster is the sixth model in the brand's current line-up and the first open-top two-seater in its history.

The Mini Roadster is basically the same as the coupe version, although its metal roof has now been replaced by a manual soft-top. The Mini Roadster sits 20 millimeters lower than the Mini convertible. It's available with four engine options: the MINI John Cooper Works Roadster with 211 hp, MINI Cooper S Roadster with 184 hp, MINI Cooper Roadster with 122 hp, and the diesel powered MINI Cooper SD Roadster with 143 hp.

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Toyota FT-86/ Scion FR-S Specs Leaked

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It seems like almost everyday now we have some new news on the upcoming Toyota FT-86/ Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ rear-wheel-drive coupes. Last week we saw our first unofficial view of the FT-86/ Scion FR-S thanks to two different brochure scans. Now thanks to a leaked training document we have our first look at the official specs.

The Toyota FT-86 and the Scion FR-S version will be powered by a 200-hp boxer engine with 151 lb-ft. of torque. The boxer engine can be mated to a six-speed manual or automatic. The base trim will weigh just under 2,700 pounds. It looks like there will be two trim levels with the top trim getting front LED lighting, 17-inch wheels and the smart entry and start system.

Last week it was rumored that Subaru's version of the coupe would be more powerful than the Scion FR-S.

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2012 Honda CR-V Photos Leaked Ahead of LA Debut

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The 2012 Honda CR-V is set to debut in a few weeks at the Los Angeles Auto Show, but we have our first leaked shots of the JDM-spec CR-V. As expected, the production version of the 2012 CR-V differs only slightly from the concept version that we saw earlier this year.

Honda hasn't announced what will power the 2012 CR-V, but its expected to continue to be a four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic.

Stay tuned..

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