November 2011 Archives

2013 Scion FR-S Brings Some Sport Back to Toyota's U.S. Lineup

Following the debut of the Toyota 86, Toyota GT 86 and Subaru BRZ, we now have our first official look at the 2013 Scion FR-S, which is the American version of Toyota's new rear-wheel-drive coupe.

The 2013 Scion FR-S is the fifth model to join the Scion family. FR-S stands for Front-engine, Rear-wheel drive, Sport.

"Serving as a laboratory for Toyota, Scion is always experimenting with new things," said Jack Hollis, Scion vice president. "The brand is iconic with the xB, adrenalized by the tC, and groundbreaking with the iQ. The FR-S will no doubt serve as the halo car, expanding Scion into a new dimension of driving performance."

The Scion FR-S is powered by the same Subaru boxer engine as the Subaru BRZ. The 2.0L boxer engine packs 200 horsepower and 151 lb-ft. of torque. The four-cylinder is mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

The Scion FR-S finally brings a sporty coupe back to Toyota's lineup that is inspired by the Toyota 2000GT. It's set to go on sale in the spring.

Honda Unveils Next-Generation "Earth Dreams Technology" Engines

Honda_EDT.jpgHonda has chosen the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show to release the details about its next-generation technology called "Earth Dreams Technology." The new technology is set to greatly enhance both driving performance in addition to fuel efficiency. Honda hopes this new technology will help it achieve top-of-industry fuel efficiency for every category within three years.

A wide range of engines including the 660cc, 1.3L, 1.5L, 1.8L, 2.0L, 2.4L, and 3.5L will feature the new technology, which includes an enhanced VTEC system, direct-injection technology and the Atkinson cycle. A new downsized diesel engine is also part of the plan as well as new CVT transmissions that will be used by mini, compact and mid-size vehicles. A two-motor hybrid system a high-output 120kW motor that features three driving modes and a high efficiency electric powertrain for all-electric models are also being developed.

The more exciting part of the announcement is the introduction of a new high output electric SH-AWD hybrid system that will be used by large-sized vehicles. It combines a 3.5L V6 engine with two electric motors that reportedly has the power of a V8 engine, but is as fuel efficient as a four-cylinder engine. The two electric motors power the rear wheels, while the V6 mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission with a built-in 30kW electric motor power the front wheels.

When will all this technology actually debut? Well the good thing is that some of it will start arriving next year.

VIDEO: 2013 Subaru BRZ Hits the Road

Following the official unveiling of the 2013 Subaru BRZ two days ago, Subaru has now released more photos and a video of the new rear-wheel-drive coupe.

The 2013 Subaru BRZ is Subaru's version of the rear-wheel-drive coupe that it developed with Toyota. Toyota's version of the coupe has been dubbed either the 86, GT 86 or Scion FR-S, which depends on where in the world you are. The Subaru BRZ is powered by the same direct-injected 2.0L boxer engine as the GT 86. The BRZ packs 200 horsepower and weighs 2,689 pounds. 2013_Subaru_BRZ_GT300_Race_Car.jpg

The only major differences between the BRZ and the GT 86 is that the BRZ has a unique grille and front bumper, unique fender vents and a slightly revised rear fascia.

The Subaru BRZ is also going to compete in the GT300 class of next year's Super GT series in Japan.

VW Cross Coupe Concept Looks Towards the Future

VW has unveiled the Cross Coupe concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. According to VW the Cross Coupe concept SUV is an all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid that is a preview of the future.

The Cross Coupe concept is based on VW's new modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform. The four-seater SUV is powered by two electric motors (one at each axle) and a direct-injection turbocharged gasoline engine. The electric motors and turbocharged engine have a combined output of 262 horsepower. The Cross Coupe concept can travel up to 25 miles alone on electric power and reach 0-62 mph in 7.0 seconds.

The Cross Coupe concept is longer than the current VW Golf, but shorter than the Tiguan.

2013 Lexus GS 350 Arrives in February, GS 450h Gets 34 MPG

Lexus has announced that the all-new 2013 Lexus GS 350 will arrive in showrooms in February 2012. Lexus is going to use the Super Bowl to debut the GS 350 with Lexus' first-ever Super Bowl commercial. Lexus will also be the the Official Automotive Marketing Partner of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

The all-new 2013 GS 350 was originally unveiled in August and is powered by a 3.5L, 306 horsepower V6. It reaches 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds. The GS 350 will be available in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations, and can be equipped with the available Premium, Luxury or F Sport packages.

The GS 450h hybrid will also be available next spring. It puts out a total 338 horsepower and gets 29 mpg city, 34 highway and 31 mpg combined.

Lexus hasn't announced the official pricing for the 2013 GS.

Honda UK Announces Supercharged CR-Z with 173-HP

Following the initial unveiling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2011, Honda's UK division has announced plans to produce the CR-Z Mugen RR, which is now being referred to as the CR-Z iCF.

The CR-Z iCF is powered by a modified version of the CR-Z's 1.5L hybrid setup. The CRZ-iCF gets a supercharger, new induction system and Mugen ECU. Thanks to these upgrades the CR-Z iCF has almost 50 percent more power than the standard CR-Z at 173 horsepower. Honda claims that it will reach 0-62 mph in 6.1 seconds, which is three seconds faster than the standard CR-Z.

Martin Moll, Head of Honda (UK) marketing said, "MUGEN Euro magic has created a super responsive yet eco-conscious model building on our sporting credentials and giving us the ability to compete in the "hot hatch" marketplace as we move into 2012."

The CR-Z iCF will be available in the UK in the spring with pricing starting at £24,000. Sadly Honda has no plans to offer this hotter CR-Z in any other markets.

Nissan Juke Nismo Concept to Debut at the Tokyo Motor Show

It may not be the same as the GT-R powered Juke-R that Nissan has been talking about a lot recently, but Nissan is bringing the Juke Nismo Concept to Tokyo this week. Nissan claims that the Juke Nismo Concept is "an idea of how a premium sports version of the hugely successful compact crossover could look."

The Juke Nismo Concept is lower and wider than the standard Juke. It gets a body kit from Nismo that includes revised lower bumpers front and rear, wider fenders and sill side skirts. The concept is painted in pearl white with red highlights.

The suspension of the Juke Nismo Concept has been lowered and stiffened with Nismo parts, while the 1.6L turbo four-cylinder has been upgraded to put out more power.

"As the Concept shows, Nismo brings new levels of individuality to mainstream Nissan cars like Juke. The future for Nismo is to develop premium sports designs for an ever-widening range of customers," said Nismo President, Shoichi Miyatani.

Subaru Unveils the Production BRZ Coupe

Two days ago, Toyota officially took the wraps off the 86 and GT 86 sports coupe and now Subaru has unveiled its version of the coupe that developed with Toyota. The Subaru BRZ is debuting this week at the Tokyo Motor Show.

The Subaru BRZ is pretty much identical to the Toyota version, which means it's powered by the same 2.0L horizontally-opposed boxer engine. Subaru states that the BRZ will put out 200 horsepower and 151 lb-ft. of torque, compared to 197 horsepower and 151 lb-ft. in the Toyota version. The boxer engine can be mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission and sends its power only to the rear wheels. The Subaru BRZ weighs 2,689 lbs and rides on standard 17-inch wheels.

in terms of styling, the BRZ mainly differs from the Toyota with a different front fascia and a slightly modified rear. Which one do you like better?

Subaru Impreza WRX STI 206 Debuts

Subaru has the Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206, which is now on sale in Japan.

The Subaru Impreza WRX STI S206 is based on the Impreza WRX STI, but gets exclusive Bilstein shock absorbers, STI coil springs, and a flexible tower bar and draw stiffener up front that help improve its performance on the track. It also rides on Michelin Pilot Super Sport tired with BBS 19-inch aluminum wheels. Subaru has also optimized the weight balance between pistons, connecting rods and crankshaft to enhance the rev feel. A ball bearing turbocharger, ECU with STI tuning, and a sports muffler with lowered back pressure exhaust give the Impreza WRX STI S206 a total 316 horsepower and 318 lb-ft. of torque.

The Impreza WRX STI S206 stands out thanks to the lower front spoiler and front fender outlet grille that are specific to this model, and the trunk spoiler.

Honda to Preview the Next NSX in Detroit

This week Honda is unveiling the Small Sports EV Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show (above), which is expected to be released by 2013, but Honda is set to bring a more exciting concept to Detroit in January.

The Super Sports Concept will be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January. The concept will provide a preview of the successor to the NSX. Expect the concept to be powered by either a high-performance hybrid system or an electric powertrain.

The Small Sports EV and Super Sports concepts provides some hope that Honda is going to put some "sport" back in its lineup. Honda's CEO Takanobu Ito recently stated that Honda has begun work on the successor to the original NSX.

Toyota's Rear-Wheel-Drive Coupe Unveiled as the Toyota 86 and GT 86

It's finally here! After years of concept cars and most recently the plethora of spy photos and photo leaks, we have our first official look at the production version of the Toyota FT-86, now dubbed the 86 in Japan and the GT 86 in Europe. The coupe will be sold under the Scion brand in the U.S. as the Scion FR-S.

Toyota is officially unveiling the GT 86 at the Tokyo Motor Show, which will go on sale in the spring of 2012. It's already known that Toyota and Subaru teamed up to create the rear-wheel-drive coupe, which will be sold by both automakers.

The GT 86 is powered by what Toyota claims is the "world's first horizontally opposed D-4S engine, created by combining Subaru's engine technology with Toyota's cutting-edge D-4S direct injection technology." The engine is mounted mid-ship, which makes it the world's only horizontally opposed engine and rear-wheel-drive setup. The engine is a 2.0L four-cylinder that packs 197 horsepower and 151 lb-ft. of torque. The four-cylinder can be mated to either a standard six-speed manual, with a six-speed automatic being optional.

The GT 86 is 167 inches long, 70 inches wide, 51 inches tall and has room for four passengers.

VW is Working on a Three-Row Crossover

Earlier this year it was reported that VW was thinking about expanding its current SUV lineup with a three-row crossover, now according to the guys over at Car and Driver, the plans are on.

VW's competitor to the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer will most likely be built at VW's Chattanooga, Tennessee plant and share its platform with the VW Passat. It will also most likely have VW's 3.6L V6 as its standard engine, with a 3.0L diesel V6 being optional. The three-row SUV will also be cheaper than the VW Touareg, which starts at $42,975. Expect it to start somewhere around $30,000. The arrival of the three-row crossover could also be the end of the Chrysler based Routan minivan.

Car and Driver also reports that the next VW Tiguan will be more oriented toward American car buyers. The next one will be more like the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue.

Lexus IS F Circuit Club Sport Package Revealed

Lexus and the guys over at Toyota Racing Development have teamed up to create the Lexus IS F Circuit Club Sport, which gets a host of modifications on the outside and under the hood.

The IS F Circuit Club Sport starts with the standard IS F and adds a body kit that is inspired by the concept with the same name that we saw last year at the 2010 Tokyo Motor Show. The kit includes a new lip spoiler, hood and rear diffuser that are all made of carbon fiber. The IS F Circuit Club Sport also gets a really large rear wing and lightweight forged aluminum wheels.

To improve the IS F's performance, the IS F Circuit Club Sport Package gets a TRD limited-slip differential and brake kit. Pricing hasn't been announced and we also don't know if it will be available in the U.S.

Mercedes-Benz Says Goodbye to Maybach in 2013

The slow selling Maybach brand is officially getting the axe according to Mercedes-Benz sources that spoke with Autocar.

Mercedes-Benz has decided to kill off the Maybach brand since sales of the current 57 and 62 models have failed to meet expectations.

According to one insider, "We've come to the conclusion that it is better to cut our losses with Maybach than to continue into an uncertain future with a brand that has failed to live up to original sales expectations."

The next-generation S-Class is expected to fill the void left by the departed Maybach models. According to the sources the next S-Class will be offered with three different wheelbase options.

The current Maybach 57 and 62 models will continue to be produced until the next S-Class is introduced in early 2013.

Cadillac Mulls a Diesel Engine for the U.S. and Europe

Cadillac is reportedly considering a new diesel engine that will make the brand more competitive with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

In order for Cadillac to really compete in Europe, Cadillac needs a diesel engine. According to Don Butler, Cadillac's marketing vice president, a diesel engine is being considered for Europe and possibly even the U.S. Cadillac is on a mission to do whatever it takes to compete with its German competitors.

"We absolutely mean it when we say we aim to compete with the best of the best without compromises. And if that means making the right powertrain choices, then those are the choices we will have to make," Butler stated.

Audi A6 Rises to the Top in Consumer Reports Test

Consumer Reports has announced the results of its latest midsize luxury sedan comparison test. The test evaluated four sedans: Audi A6, Infiniti M35h, Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec, and Saab 9-5. Out of the four, the Audi A6 grabbed the top spot.

According to CR the Audi A6 received a score of 93, which ties it with the previously tested Infiniti M37. The A6's score of 93 is a significant jump from the previously tested A6 that only received a test score of 79. CR applauded the A6 for its combination of strong acceleration, agile handling, a comfortable ride, and a quiet, well-finished interior.

"The redesigned Audi A6 is an impressive car and a joy to drive," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center in East Haddam, CT.

The Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec had the highest fuel economy in the group at 26mpg, which beat the hybrid Infiniti M35h's 25 mpg in the test. The Saab 9-5 received the lowest score out of the four sedans and is not recommended by CR due to its noisy engine, poor acceleration, stiff ride and poor visibility.

2012 BMW 3 Series Sedan Starts at $35,795

BMW has announced the pricing for the all-new 2012 3 Series sedan, which starts at $35,795 for the four-cylinder 328i, while the six-cylinder 335i Sedan will be priced from $43,295. Both starting prices are only about $300 more than the outgoing 3 Series, but BMW states that the 3 Series will comes standard with more features like a 6.5-inch central display with iDrive controller, Bluetooth, 8-Speed automatic transmission, automatic start/stop and brake energy regeneration.

The 2012 328i is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 240 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque. It reaches 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds. The turbocharged six-cylinder in the 335i packs 300 horsepower and reaches 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds.

The 2012 3 Series sedan will arrive in showrooms in February.

Chevy Volt and All-New Chevy Malibu Get 5-Star NCAP Safety Rating

The Chevy Volt and all-new Chevy Malibu are the latest GM models to receive a five-star rating by the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP).

"The results confirm that both vehicles meet today's highest safety standards. The Volt's safety performance and propulsion concept highlight the reliability and practicality that is inherent to this outstanding design," said Wayne Brannon, president and managing director of Chevrolet Europe.

In the U.S. the Chevy Volt has also received top safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

VW Passat Alltrack Takes the Passat Offroad

VW has given us a preview of the Passat Alltrack that is going to debut at the Tokyo Motor Show. The Passat Alltrack is based on the Passat Estate that we unfortunately do not get in the U.S.

The Passat Alltrack is a more rugged version of the Passat Estate with its 4Motion all-wheel-drive system and raised ride height. The Passat Alltrack also gets extra body cladding to protect it from the elements when the paved road ends.

The 4Motion all-wheel-drive system sends 90 percent of the power to the front wheels during normal driving to save fuel, but if extra traction is need almost 100 percent of the power can be sent to the rear wheels. The Passat Alltrack also has an off-road mode that can be switched on via a dashboard-mounted button. The off-road mode activates hill descent assist, which automatically brakes the vehicle when the descent angle is greater than 10 degrees.

In the UK the VW Passat Alltrack, which will be in dealers by July can be powered by either a 2.0L TDI mated to a six-speed manual or a 2.0L TDI mated to a six-speed DSG transmission.

No One Wants the Nissan Cube but Nissan isn't Killing it

Nissan only managed to sell 198 units of the quirky Nissan Cube in October, but the automaker plans to continue selling it.

Brian Carolin, Nissan North America's senior vice president for sales and marketing stated, "It's a niche product that has found its place in the market. It benefited particularly when gas prices were spiking earlier this year, and we were struggling to get a supply of it. We had a lot of demand for it."

The Nissan Cube starts at $14,470 and competes primarily against the Scion xB. The second year it was sold in the US, Nissan sold almost 23,000 units, its best year yet. So far Nissan has only sold around 14,000 units this year, which is partly due to the Japan earthquake in March.

Do you think Nissan should kill the Cube?

2013 Lexus GS 250 Debuts in Guangzhou

Lexus has unveiled the latest version of the all-new GS, the entry-level GS 250 at the Guangzhou Motor Show in China.

The Lexus GS 250 is powered by a direct-injection 2.5L V6 that puts out 206 horsepower and 187 lb-ft. of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The GS 250 reaches 0-62 mph in 8.6 seconds and has a top speed of 142 mph.

Lexus is not planning on bringing the GS 250 to the US, but it will be launched in the UK at the same time as the GS 450h in June.

2012 Porsche 911 Cabriolet Debuts Ahead of Detroit

Porsche has unveiled the next-generation 2012 Porsche 911 Cabriolet, which will be available in the spring of 2012.

The 911 Carrera Cabriolet and 911 Carrera S Cabriolet get an aluminum-steel chassis combined with a new convertible top design that is said to preserve the 911 coupe roof line. Thanks to the extensive use of aluminum, magnesium and advanced high strength steel, the 911 Cabriolet models are significantly lighter than the last generation.

The 911 Cabriolet models use the same engines as the coupe, which means the 911 Carrera Cabriolet is powered by a 3.4L boxer six-cylinder engine with 350 horsepower, while the Carrera S Cabriolet is powered by a 3.8L boxer six-cylinder engine with 400 horsepower. The 911 Carrera Cabriolet can reach 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds with a top speed of 177 mph, while the 911 Carrera S Cabriolet reaches 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds and has a top speed of 187 mph.

The 2012 911 Carrera Cabriolet starts at $97,300, while the 911 Carrera S Cabriolet starts at $108,000. Both models will debut in Detroit this coming January.

2013 Chevy Malibu Eco Starts at $25,995

GM has announced the pricing for the all-new 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco, which starts at $25,995.

The most fuel-efficient Malibu ever is powered by GM's eAssist hybrid system that uses a 2.4L four-cylinder engine that's mated to a lithium-ion battery and an electric motor-generator to enable regenerative braking, electric assist and start-stop functionality. The Malibu Eco packs 182 horsepower and gets 26 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.

The Malibu Eco is only a mild hybrid, but compares well to other full hybrids like the Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry. The Fusion Hybrid only gets 36 mpg and starts higher than the Malibu at $29,395. The Camry Hybrid starts a little higher than than the Malibu Eco at $26,660, but also gets one 1 mpg better at 39 mpg.

For those buyers that want a standard four-cylinder engine, GM will release a Malibu with a standard 190-hp 2.5L Ecotec four-cylinder next summer.

The 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco will arrive in Chevy dealerships in the first quarter of next year.

Audi to Unveil Next-Gen TT in Tokyo?

Audi is denying it, but there are reports that Audi is going to give us our first look at the next TT at the Tokyo Motor Show at the end of this month.

A single sketch has also surfaced showing the possible new design direction for the next TT, which looks like the combination of the current TT with the Quattro and e-tron concepts.

Little is known about the next TT, but it's expected to move upmarket and away from its current Golf underpinnings. The TT will remain with it's front engine and quattro layout, but will be positioned more as a Porsche Boxster and Mercedes-Benz SLK competitor than it is now.

Ford to Introduce 20 New Engines and Transmissions in China by 2015

Ford has announced plans to introduce 20 new engines and transmissions by 2015, which is part of the automaker's plan to introduce 15 new vehicles to China by 2015.

The new engines will use the latest technology like turbocharging, direct injection, twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT), which when coupled with the new six-speed transmissions will deliver over 20% in fuel economy improvement to Ford's passenger vehicle fleet in China.

Ford also announced plans to build its new 1.0L EcoBoost engine in China.

"Ford is committed to be a fuel economy leader in every segment that we compete by utilizing advanced powertrain technologies. These technologies represent a core part of our near-term sustainability goals in China," said Kumar Galhotra, vice president, Product Development, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa.

VIDEO: 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth is Beyond Sexy or At Least This Woman Is

Fiat has employed J. Lo for its Fiat 500 commercials, but for the 2012 Fiat Abarth, J. Lo has been replaced by a sexy Italian woman.

"You'll never forget the first time you see one." 2012_Fiat_500_Abarth_LA.jpg

The 2012 Fiat Abarth was officially unveiled at the LA Auto Show this week. It takes the standard 500 and dials up the performance to make it a total hot hatch. It's powered by a turbocharged 1.4L engine that packs 160 horsepower and 170 lb-ft. of torque.

Volvo Releases Sketches of the Next-Gen XC90

The Volvo XC90 crossover launched in 2002 as a 2003 model and since then the crossover has continued largely unchanged. Volvo is working on a new XC90 that will probably be released sometime in 2013 as a 2014 model. To give us an idea of the possible design directions for the next-generation XC90, Volvo has released the four sketches that you see here.

It looks like the next XC90 may adopt some of the styling elements from the Volvo Concept You sedan. All four sketches appear to be similar, but if you look closer you will see some major differences, like the different greenhouses. The next XC90 will be built on Volvo's Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA), which will be used for all future Volvo models. The XC90 will also be powered by four-cylinder engines, since Volvo has announced plans to move away from five and six-cylinder engines. A hybrid is also possible.

Audi A1 Sportback Brings a Five-Door to the A1 Lineup

Audi has just unveiled the next addition to the A1 family, the A1 Sportback five-door hatchback. The five-door will arrive in early 2012 and will hopefully attract buyers that love the A1 three-door, but that need an extra two doors.

The A1 Sportback can be powered by a choice of three TFSI gasoline and three TDI diesel engines producing between 86 hp and 185 hp. The engines can be mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic, although some engines can be equipped with the seven-speed S tronic transmission. Audi_A1_Sportback_int.jpg

Inside the A1 Sportback has comes standard with seats for four, but a fifth seat is optional. Headroom and shoulder room have increased slightly compared to the three-door. With the rear seats up, the A1 Sportback has 9.5 cubic feet of space for your stuff, with the rear seats down that number jumps to 32 cubic feet.

Will the A1 Sportback come to the U.S.? Nope. Just like the three-door, we won't be so lucky...

2012 Mini Roadster Starts at $25,050

Mini has announced the pricing for the 2012 Mini Roadster that starts at $25,050, making it $3,000 more than the Mini Coupe.

The base Mini Cooper Roadster is powered by a 122-hp 1.6L. The Mini Cooper Roadster S starts at $28,050 and is powered by a turbocharged 1.6L with 184-hp. The top model is the Mini John Cooper Works Roadster that starts at $35,200 and is powered by a turbocharged 211 horsepower 1.6L.

The 2012 Mini Roadster should arrive in dealerships next spring.

Infiniti has released two teaser photos of a new electric sports car concept that it's bringing to the Geneva Motor Show next March.

Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd and Infiniti said: "At the Geneva Show next year, we will present our vision for a totally new kind of inspired premium performance car. Infiniti already has hybrid and clean diesel models on sale. And with an all-electric sedan on the way, the natural next step was to push the boundaries where performance and the environment intersect."

Stay tuned...

2013 Lincoln MKT Gets Some Much Needed Upgrades

In addition to the new 2013 Lincoln MKS, Lincoln is also unveiling a revised 2013 MKT crossover at the LA Auto Show. The 2013 Lincoln MKT gets a host of upgrades on the inside and out to hopefully help the full size crossover win over more hearts.

The 2013 MKT continues to be powered by either a 3.7L V6 or the 3.5L Ecoboost V6. For 2013 the standard 3.7L gets upgraded to 300 horsepower, up from 268 in the current model. Fuel economy ratings have also improved slightly with the 3.7L V6 getting 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, a 1 mpg highway improvement. The 3.5L EcoBoost carries over with its 355 horsepower. According to Ford, nine out of ten MKT buyers choose the EcoBoost engine. Both engines are mated to a six-speed gearbox and the 3.5L EcoBoost comes standard with all-wheel-drive, while the standard engine only sends its power to the front wheels.

The front end of the 2013 MKT has been revised with a new grille with a lot of vertical grille bars. "The effort behind the new look was to change the proportion of the MKT from the front view. We helped make it feel wider and a bit less tall, less vertical," said Max Wolff, Lincoln Design director. "The execution of the new MKT's grille and the grille bars is a lot more refined and elegant. The new front graphic displays a lot of three-dimensionality, but it's accomplished in a calmer, more restrained way."

The 2013 MKT also gets a new Continuously Controlled Damping that improves the ride and handling of the MKT equipped with the 3.5L EcoBoost engine. The adjustable suspension utilizes 46 inputs to feed data to a sophisticated control unit that continuously monitors more than 23,000 packets of information per second. CCD constantly reads the road surface and continuously adjusts the suspension in real time within the three selectable ranges - Sport, Normal and Comfort.

The 2013 Lincoln MKT will go on sale in the spring.

2013 Lincoln MKS Gets a New Softer Face

In the past few months Ford has publicly discussed the changes that it has in store for the Lincoln brand and what it needs to do actually make Lincoln competitive. Well the first of the new Lincoln models has been unveiled today at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The 2013 Lincoln MKS is debuting alongside the also new Lincoln MKT.

The 2013 Lincoln MKS has been heavily updated and according to Ford it has "better handling, increased power, improved fuel efficiency, additional standard equipment, more refinement."

The 2013 MKS gets a freshened exterior in which everything from the A-pillar forward is new, including a softer grille, HID headlamps, front fascia, hood and front fenders. The rear has also been revised with new LED tail lamps, exhaust tips and a new decklid design. The interior has also been revised to be "more inviting and engaging." It also gets the revised MyLincoln Touch system with its revised user interface, standard operator assist and Wi-Fi functionality.

The 2013 MKS is powered by either a 300 horsepower 3.7L V6 or the 355 horsepower turbocharged 3.5L Ecoboost V6. The standard 3.7L gets a boost in horsepower over the last model's 273 horsepower, but at the same time its more fuel efficient with 3 mpg improvement on the highway. Both engines are mated to a standard six-speed automatic. The 3.7L V6 is available with all-wheel-drive, while the 3.5L Ecoboost has it standard.

Ford has added a bunch of new tech features to make the 2013 MKS safer like a Lane Keeping system that alerts drivers when they are leaving a lane unintentionally, adaptive cruise control, collision warning and a blind spot warning system.

Is the new 2013 MKS a step in the right direction for Lincoln?

2013 Honda Fit EV Starts at $36,625

The 2013 Honda Fit EV is having its world debut in LA and will be available by the summer. The Honda Fit EV is powered by a 20 kWh lithium-ion battery and a 92 kilowatt coaxial electric motor. It features a 3- mode electric drive system, adapted from the CR-Z Sport Hybrid and has a range of 123 city-mile per charge or a 76 mile range with combined city and highway driving. It will only take 3 hours to recharge the battery using a 240-volt outlet.

"The Fit EV is the next critical step in Honda's portfolio approach to alternative fueled vehicles," said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "There is no other automaker on the planet whose spirit is more deeply invested in the effort to realize a cleaner, more energy-efficient and ultimately more sustainable transportation future than Honda."

The 2013 Fit EV's pricing starts at $36,625 before any government incentives, with an estimated lease priced at $399 a month. Honda expects to only produce approximately 1,100 Fit EV's over the next three years.

All-New 2012 Honda CR-V Officially Unveiled in LA

The fourth-generation all-new 2012 Honda CR-V was just unveiled minutes ago in LA. After several spy photos and photo leaks, the CR-V that we saw at the show today wasn't a big surprise. But nonetheless the CR-V is getting a complete redesign, that is more evolutionary than a drastic change like the 2013 Ford Escape.

The 2012 CR-V retains its five-passenger seating configuration and four-cylinder engine. The CR-V is powered by the same 2.4L engine as the outgoing model, but it now puts out 185 horsepower and 163 lb-ft. of torque. The four-cylinder is mated to a standard five-speed automatic. Honda claims that the 2012 CR-V will get 23 city, 31 highway and a combined rating fuel economy rating of 26 mpg, an increase of +2/+3/+2 mpg compared to the 2011 CR-V.

All CR-V models will come standard with an "easy fold down" rear seat, Bluetooth and a rear view camera. The CR-V also gets new tech features like an SMS text messaging function, which can read received texts from compatible cell phones aloud over the audio system and Pandora internet radio.

Honda has yet to announce the pricing for the 2012 CR-V, but it will go on sale by the middle of next month.

2013 Infiniti JX Brings a 7-Passenger Crossover to the Brand

Infiniti already has the EX and FX crossovers, but neither of those have three rows of seats, so Infiniti is releasing the 2013 JX crossover that has room for up to seven passengers.

"The all-new Infiniti JX embraces family customers in a way no luxury crossover has done before - recognizing their need to grow up, but without growing old," said Infiniti Americas Vice President Ben Poore. "Responsibility should come as a reward, rather than as a restriction on the things and activities you enjoyed as a single person or a couple."

The 2013 Infiniti JX will be offered either as the JX35 or the JX35 AWD. It's powered by a 3.5L V6 with 265 horsepower and 248 lb-ft. of torque. The V6 is mated to a standard CVT The JX also gets an Infiniti Drive Mode Selector that lets the driver choose between four drive modes - Standard, Sport, Eco and Snow. Infiniti expects the JX to get 23 mpg highway, 17 mpg city and have a 19 mpg combined rating.

The front-wheel-drive JX will start at $40,450, while the all-wheel-drive version starts at $41,550.

2012 Hyundai Azera Debuts in LA

The all-new 2012 Hyundai Azera has just been unveiled at the LA Auto Show and it is the fifth vehicle to adopt the Hyundai's signature Fluidic Sculpture design language.

The second-generation Azera is powered by 3.3L V6 with 293 horsepower and 255 lb-ft. of torque. The V6 is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Hyundai claims that the Azera has a combined fuel economy of 23 mpg, which is better than the Nissan Maxima, Ford Taurus, Lexus ES350 and Buick LaCrosse V6.

The 2012 Azera comes standard with a touch-screen navigation system with a backup camera, heated front and rear leather seats, dual climate control and a cooled glove box.

The 2012 Hyundai Azera will go on sale in February.

2013 Cadillac XTS Introduces a New Cadillac Flagship

GM has officially unveiled the newest addition to the Cadillac lineup, the 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan that will arrive in dealerships in the spring of 2012.

The 2013 XTS is larger than the current CTS, making it Cadillac's new flagship sedan. Cadillac also claims that the XTS will be the most technologically advanced production car in the brand's history. The XTS will debut with Cadillac's CUE interface and connectivity system that merges intuitive design with auto industry-first controls and commands for information and media control. The XTS also gets GM's Magnetic Ride Control system.

The 2013 XTS will be powered by a 300-hp 3.6L direct injection engine mated a six-speed automatic and an all-wheel drive system.

"The Cadillac XTS represents a new formula for luxury, driven by advanced technology," said Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac Marketing. "XTS showcases the evolution of our Art & Science philosophy, merging the best technical ideas with the continued refinement of Cadillac design."

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth Officially Packs 160 Horsepower

Fiat is unveiling the much anticipated high-performance version of the Fiat 500, the 500 Abarth at the LA Auto Show today. The 500 Abarth takes the tiny 500 and adds in a lot more fun.

For starters the 500 Abarth is powered by a turbocharged 1.4L engine that generates 160 horsepower and 170 lb-ft. of torque. The addition of the turbocharger delivers a 70 percent increase in engine rpm torque, 59 percent increase in power over base 1.4-liter engine. the 1.4L engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission. A torque transfer control system, an upgraded suspension and braking system are also sure to put a smile on your face.

The 500 Abarth looks more aggressive than the lesser powered 500 models thanks to a more pronounced front fascia and an Abarth designed body kit. The 500 Abarth also rides on 16-inch wheels, with 17-inch wheels being optional.

Inside the 500 Abarth gets a thick-rim Abarth designed steering wheel and a pair of Abarth performance front seats.

The official pricing has not been announced.

2013 Ford Escape Officially Unveiled

Ford has unveiled the all-new 2013 Ford Escape that is having its world debut at Los Angeles Auto Show this week.

The 2013 Escape draws much of its styling inspiration from the Vertrek concept that was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

"We call our all-new Ford Escape the 'Smarter Utility Vehicle' because it offers the strengths that customers today really value - fuel economy, versatility and new technology that makes driving and living with the vehicle easier and more fun - all wrapped in a sleek, more modern design," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "Ford understands that more people every year are looking at vehicles like Escape, and we want to give them even more reasons to buy."

According to Ford, the 2013 Escape offers eleven features that aren't offered on other compact SUVs, including an available hands-free power liftgate. The 2013 Escape will be available with three different four-cylinder powertrains. The base 2.5L four-cylinder puts out 168 horsepower and 167 lb-ft. of torque. The 1.6-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine packs 173 hp, while the 2.0-liter EcoBoost that puts out 237 hp and 250 lb-ft. All three engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and Ford claims that the 2013 Escape gets up to 5 mpg better than previous Escape.

The 2013 Ford Escape will hit dealerships early next year.

Slow Fiat 500 Sales Leads to Layoffs

Slower than expected sales of the Fiat 500 has prompted to Chrysler to suspend production of the 500's 1.4L engine at Chrysler's Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance Plant in Dundee, Michigan.

According to the UAW, more than 100 of about 400 hourly workers were laid off at the beginning of the month, although Chrysler claims that only about 30 workers are currently laid off.

Automotive News reports that Chrysler currently has a 184-day supply of Fiat 500 coupes and cabrios.

Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson stated that Chrysler is "very pleased with the progress we are making with the North American launch of the Fiat brand."

Chrysler originally wanted to sell 50,000 units this year, but through the end of October only about 16,000 units had been sold. The third 500 model, the 500 Abarth will be unveiled this week at the LA Auto Show.

2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1 Starts at $54,995
This morning's headlines may be all about the revised 2013 Ford Mustang and the 650-hp Shelby GT500, but GM has just announced the pricing for the 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1. The 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1, which is a direct competitor to the Ford's Shelby GT500, starts at $54,995.

The Camaro ZL1 is powered by a supercharged 6.2L V8 that packs 580 horsepower and 556 lb-ft. of torque, which makes it the most powerful production Camaro ever. The Camaro ZL1 can be equipped with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The automatic equipped Camaro ZL1 is the fastest version with a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 184 mph.

"With 0 to 60 taking less than four seconds, and a top speed in excess of 180 mph, the power and acceleration of the Camaro ZL1 rivals many supercars," said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. "And, horsepower is only half of the story, as the most significant measurement of the ZL1's potential is lapping the Nurburgring in 7:41.27. That is a great testament to the power, braking, grip, and balance of the Camaro ZL1, and to the well-rounded performance of the ZL1 that sets the bar for the sports-car segment."

Toyota Prius C Officially Unveiled Ahead of Tokyo Debut

Toyota has given us our first official look at the Prius c hybrid, which is the production version of the Prius C concept car. The Prius c hybrid is about the same size as the Toyota Yaris and will be officially unveiled at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show and then it will have its U.S. debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

The Prius c is powered by a hybrid powertrain that mates an electric motor to a 1.5L engine. The Prius c, which will be dubbed the Aqua in Japan is smaller and lighter than the standard Prius, which will also result in better fuel economy numbers. The Prius c is expected to get over 50 mpg in the city, which will be the highest city mpg of any non-plug-in vehicle.

2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Debuts with 650 HP

The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is here with a whopping 650 horsepower and 600 lb-ft. of torque from its 5.8L V8. Chevy Camaro ZL1 fans now have something to be worried about.

The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is powred by an aluminum supercharged 5.8L V8 that is now the most powerful production V8 engine in the world. A top speed over 200 mph is sure to put a smile on your face!

The GT500's powertrain has been upgraded for 2013 with a new supercharger, new cross-drilled block and heads, updated camshaft profiles, a new carbon fiber driveshaft and upgraded clutch, transmission and axle. The cooling system has also been upgraded with a larger cooling fan, fan shroud with high-speed pressure-relief doors, a more efficient charge air cooler, a higher-flow intercooler pump and an intercooler heat exchanger with volume increased 36 percent.

The six-speed manual transmission gets upgraded gears, bearings and housing to manage all that power. The final drive ratio is now 3.31:1.

"It might just seem like we're putting a bigger engine into the car. But it's been a balanced approach through and through," said Jamal Hameedi, SVT chief engineer. "We've completely redone the car to be even more sophisticated in terms of handling and control than the prior model."

An optional Performance Package adds SVT-designed Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers that can be adjusted with the touch of a button on the dash. The Track Package adds comes an external engine oil cooler, rear differential cooler and transmission cooler for further durability.

2013 Ford Mustang Officially Unveiled

Ford has officially announced the updates that the 2013 Ford Mustang is getting right before its official debut in LA this week.

While we have to wait a little longer for an all-new Mustang, Ford is giving the current Mustang a refresh with a more prominent grille, new hood and LED lighting. The new grille and hood with functional heat extractors combine to give the 2013 Mustang an overall more aggressive appearance.

"We are delivering a more distinctive and emotional design presence that celebrates the total performance of Mustang," said Darrell Behmer, Mustang chief designer. "This latest Mustang design is very respectful of its heritage while continuing to look forward with a more powerful and modern look."

The rear of the 2013 Mustang also gets updated with a high-gloss black panel that connects the taillights, which now have a smoked appearance. The interior now gets optional leather-trimmed or cloth Recaro seats.

Under the hood the Mustang GT is now powered by a 420 horsepower 5.0L V8. A new GT Track Package is available on Mustang GTs and adds an engine cooler, upgraded radiator, performance friction brake pads and the same Torsen differential that's on Mustang Boss 302.

The Boss 302 is powered by a 444 horsepower V8.

The 2013 Ford Mustang will be available in spring 2012.

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid Arrives in Dealerships and Starts at $25,900

Toyota has announced that the all-new 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid is now arriving in dealerships with a starting price at $25,900, which is $1,150 cheaper than the outgoing model.

The 2012 Camry Hybrid is powered by an updated version of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system and a new 2.5L four-cylinder engine. The system has an EPA rating of 43 city and 39 highway, with a combined 41 mpg rating. The 2012 Camry Hybrid now has a new EV mode that allows the driver to operate the car using the electric motor alone under certain conditions for up to one mile at speeds below 25 mph.

The Camry Hybrid LE comes standard with projector beam headlamps, dual-zone auto A/C and the Smart Key System with push button start. The Camry Hybrid XLE starts at $27,400 and comes with a touch-screen navigation system, 17-inch alloy wheels. Other options includes premium HDD navigation, a JBL audio system, a blind spot monitor, leather seats and a Convenience Package that includes an integrated backup camera, HomeLink Universal Transceiver, and Anti-Theft System.

Land Rover Updates the DC100 Concepts for LA

Land Rover is hard at work on a replacement for the Defender. Land Rover gave us a preview of what the next-generation Defender could be like at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show with the DC100 and DC100 Sport concepts. Now Land Rover is bringing updated versions of the two concepts to the LA Auto Show this week to gauge public reaction and to explore the possibility of bringing the Defender back to the US market.

John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director said, "Our intention is to introduce the all new Defender in the middle of the decade - there's a lot of work to do to meet these dates and our concepts are just the start of the journey. We are here in LA to showcase our DC100 and DC100 Sport concepts and start to actively explore the possibility of bringing the future Defender to North America."

Although Land Rover claims that the concepts have been updated, it is difficult to notice the changes. The concepts now ride on 20-inch alloy wheels and the DC100 concept gets expedition accessories with a raised air-intake 'snorkel' for wading and a roof rack.

2013 Chevy Spark Mini Car Debuts in LA

The 2013 Chevy Spark will have its U.S. debut at the LA Auto Show on Wednesday. The 2013 Spark is a small four-passenger, five-door hatchback that GM says is "designed to excite first-time buyers and city dwellers with its bold styling and colors, affordability, the safety of 10 standard air bags, fuel efficiency and maneuverability."

The 2013 Spark is powered by a 85 horsepower 1.2L four-cylinder engine that can be mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. GM hasn't announced the fuel economy stats for the Spark.

The Spark, which offers more passenger and cargo room than other mini cars such as the Fiat 500 and Scion iQ, can be equipped with Chevy's new MyLink infotainment system, which features the personalized connectivity of Pandora and Stitcher internet radio.

"Spark is for buyers who want much more than a 'cute' small car - they want a car that can be personalized, is dynamic and fashionable, and delivers a lot of value for the money," said Chris Perry, vice president, global Chevrolet marketing and strategy.

The 2013 Chevy Spark will go on sale in the U.S. and Canada in mid-2012.

2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Officially Unveiled

2012 ML63 AMG_ (13).jpg
Mercedes-Benz is set to debut the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, but here's your first look at it.

The 2012 ML63 AMG is powered by an AMG 5.5L V8 biturbo engine that packs 518 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque. The available AMG Performance Package pushes that number even higher to 550 horsepower and 560 lb-ft. of torque. The ML63 AMG reaches 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds and 4.6 seconds with the performance package, while the top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph and 174 mph with the with the AMG Performance Package. The V8 is mated to a AMG Speedshift Plus 7-speed automatic and a permanent four-wheel-drive system. The estimated combined fuel economy for the 2012 ML63 AMG is 16 mpg, which is a 33 percent improvement over the last model.

The 2012 ML63 AMG will be available in the first quarter of 2012.

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Gets New 350-HP V6 and 275-HP 2.0L Turbo

The news keeps coming in about the updates to the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Last week we saw the first official pics of the revised 2013 Genesis Coupe and now we've learned what updates lie under the hood.

The 2013 Genesis Coupe is going to get a new 3.8L Lambda V6, which packs 350 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque, which is 43 more horsepower and 29 lb-ft. more than the current V6. This also means that the Genesis Coupe packs more power than the V6s in the Challenger (305HP), Mustang (305HP) and Camaro (323HP).

The V6 is not the only engine getting updates, the 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder will put out 275 horsepower, which is up from 210 horsepower in the current Genesis. Both engines will can be mated to either a six-speed manual or Hyundai's new eight-speed automatic transmission.

2013 Lincoln MKS Teased Before LA Debut

The 2011 LA Auto Show is only a few days away. Lincoln is giving us a preview of what we'll see at the show with these teasers of the 2013 Lincoln MKS.

The 2013 Lincoln MKS is getting updated with a new hood and revised taillights that you can see in these pics. The MKS is also expected to get a new front fascia with a revised grille and headlights.

The 2013 MKT crossover is also expected to get some updates and will also debut this week at the show.

Come back for all the updates on Wednesday, November 16th.

Ford Gives Facebook Fans a Sneak Peak at the 2013 Mustang

Ford is expected to unveil a revised 2013 Ford Mustang at the LA Auto Show next week, but Ford is giving the Mustang's Facebook fans a sneak peak.

Basically for every 5,000 fans that share the Mustang badge on their Facebook, Ford will unveil a new teaser of the new Mustang.

Hyundai Elantra Coupe to Debut in Chicago

There has been some speculation for a while now that Hyundai is working on a coupe version of the Elantra. It was reported that the Elantra Coupe would be unveiled at the LA Auto Show next week, but now it's been confirmed that it will debut at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show in February.

The Elantra Coupe will retain many of the same styling elements as the sedan, but will be a bit sportier. The coupe is also going to have a sportier driving experience thanks to different gear ratios.

Hyundai has also confirmed that the five-door Elantra, known as the i30 in Europe, will arrive in the U.S. in 2013. The new five-door Elantra will not be called the Elantra Touring, but its new name hasn't been disclosed.

$395,000 Ferrari FF Neiman Marcus Edition Sells Out in 50 Minutes

Every year, Neiman Marcus offers a special edition model in its Christmas Christmas book. This year Neiman Marcus offered the 2012 Ferrari FF at a staggering $395,000.

The special-edition Ferrari FF came in an exclusive "Grigio Caldo" color and received a numbered interior plaque. The interior also featured semi-aniline leather and a matching custom luggage set.

Even though the special-edition Ferrari cost $400k, the 10 units that were for sale sold out in just 50 minutes.

VIDEO: 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1 Does Some Time in the Wind Tunnel

The 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1 packs an awesome 580 horsepower and recently lapped the famed Nürburgring in 7:41.27 seconds. While all that power and suspension upgrades helped the ZL1 reach 170 mph on the Nürburgring course, aerodynamics also played a role in helping the ZL1 maintain stability and steering response on the track.

"The Camaro ZL1 lapped the Nürburgring in an incredible 7:41.27 seconds, which would not have been possible without work of our aerodynamics team," said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. "The design of the ZL1 creates downforce like a race car, harnessing air pressure to press the tires against the track for extra grip and control at high speeds."

GM's engineers had a goal of generating downforce for improved handling, but at the same time minimizing the amount of increased drag, which would reduce fuel economy and the Camaro ZL1's top speed.

Buick LaCrosse GL Concept Shows off the Essence of Buick

GM's designers have set out to capture the "essence of Buick luxury" with the Buick LaCrosse GL concept that is going to be on display at the LA Auto Show next week.

GM's designers took inspiration from the burnished metal of antique jewelry, ombré patina on vintage guitars and flocked lining of keepsake boxes to create the LaCrosse GL concept.

"The LaCrosse GL concept expresses Buick's distinctly human kind of luxury - one that is as warmly inviting as it is elegant and refined," said David Lyon, executive director of design. "The design cues that already distinguish the production LaCrosse - such as the premium leather-upholstered seats, ice blue ambient lighting and soft touch surfaces - are amplified in the GL and serve as inspiration for future Buick models."

"Every surface in the interior of the LaCrosse GL has been crafted with the knowledge that Buick customers enjoy the finer things in life, but don't need to flaunt it," Magdalena Kokoszynska, creative designer on LaCrosse GL said.

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Official Photos Released...

Following this week's photo leaks of the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Hyundai's global Facebook page has released the first official photos of the revised coupe.

The photos show off the Genesis Coupe's new face in more detail than the leaked photos. What do you think? It looks a bit more aggressive... Under the hood the V6 is expected to get upgraded to the 333 horsepower 3.8L V6 that powers the sedan. The 2.0L four-cylinder will likely also get some updates to separate it further from the upcoming 2013 Veloster Turbo.

The 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe will officially debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show in January.

Honda Small Sports EV Concept to Debut in Tokyo

Honda has given us a preview of what it's going to be bringing to the Tokyo Motor Show in December, the Small Sports EV concept.

According to Honda the Small Sports EV concept is a next-generation EV sports model that "maximizes the fun of driving while achieving excellent environmental performance." Honda hasn't released any other details about the concept other than the teaser photos you see here.

Could this be a preview of a new "sporty" Honda? We can only hope...

2013 Chevy TrailBlazer Unveiled in Dubai

GM has taken the wraps off the all-new 2013 Chevy TrailBlazer at the Dubai International Motor Show.

The 2013 Chevy TrailBlazer is going to be sold around the world, beginning in Thailand in early 2012 and has been previewed by the show version you see here. According to GM the new TrailBlazer combines the hauling and towing capability of a body-on-frame SUV with the ride comfort and efficiency of a crossover. The TrailBlazer shares its platform with the new Colorado pickup.

The Trailblazer show vehicle is powered by GM's new 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel engine mated to an all-wheel-drive system. Although the TrailBlazer that is debuting in Dubai is labeled as a "show vehicle," the production version is expected to be very close to this when it arrives next year.

As of right now, GM claims that the TrailBlazer will not be sold in the U.S.

GM Unveils 2013 Cadillac XTS Ahead of Official Debut in LA

GM has released the first official photo of the 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan ahead of its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week.

The Cadillac XTS is Cadillac's new flagship sedan and was originally previewed by the Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept. The production version, which you see here remains pretty close to the concept.

The XTS will also debut with Cadillac's new CUE infotainment system.

2012 Honda CR-V Will Arrive Next Month

The flooding in Thailand has hurt Honda's production, which the automaker predicted would delay the all-new 2012 CR-V. Now even though production will need to be adjusted, Honda claims that the 2012 CR-V will launch next month.

The 2012 CR-V will have its world debut next week at the LA Auto Show.

Dodge Unveils 2012 Challenger and Charger SRT8 Special Editions

Dodge is bringing two special edition models to the LA Auto Show next week, the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee and the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 Yellow Jacket.

The Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee is powered by the new 470-hp 6.4L Hemi V8 and is available in either Stinger Yellow or Pitch Black with Super Bee graphics. "The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee is a salute to the fun-loving past of Dodge muscle cars powered by the legendary 392 HEMI® V-8 in a back-to-basics performance machine," Ralph Gilles, President and CEO - SRT and Motorsports said.

The interior features an SRT steering wheel, Z-stripe cloth performance seats with yellow and silver striping and embroidered Super Bee logos on the front seat headrests. The exterior gets satin black hood graphics and a standard rear decklid spoiler. The Charger SRT8 Super Bee also rides on 20-inch wheels with black painted pockets.

Jeep Unveils Wrangler and Liberty Arctic Special Editions

Jeep has announced the introduction of two new special edition models that will arrive in dealers next month, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Arctic and Jeep Liberty Arctic.

The special edition Jeep Wrangler and Liberty are inspired by the extreme winter conditions of the arctic. The Jeep Wrangler Arctic is based on the Wrangler Sahara and available in Winter Chill, Bright Silver and Bright White. It features a body-color hardtop and fender flares, "Arctic" badges on the front fenders, a "Yeti Footprint" decal over part of the driver's side fender and hood, black hood decal and Mopar black fuel filler door and taillamp guards. It also rides on 17-inch wheels wrapped in 32-inch tires. Inside the Wrangler Arctic gets seats that are covered in black Tectonic fabric with Polar White accents and orange piping and accent stitching. The front seats are heated and the door trim and nets are accented in orange, and all grab handles and dashboard vent rings are finished in Polar White trim.

The Jeep Liberty Arctic is available on Liberty Sport 4x4 models and gets many of the same features as the Wrangler Arctic. Available exterior colors are Winter Chill, Bright Silver, Bright White and Mineral Gray. "Arctic" badges on the front fenders are shared, though the "Arctic" decal on the hood is unique to Liberty. The Liberty Arctic rides on semi-gloss black 16-inch aluminum wheels. The inside gets seats that are covered in black vinyl with a Gortex embossment, and the inserts are Tectonic fabric with Polar White accents. The front seats are also heated and the Liberty Arctic also gets a nine-speaker Infiniti audio system.

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Teasers Show up Before Official Debut

Korea's Hyundai blog has released the first official photos of the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe ahead of its official debut in January at the Detroit Auto Show.

From these photos you can see that the 2013 Genesis Coupe is going to get a new face that brings it more inline with the smaller Veloster.

Nissan Debuts the NV3500 HD Passenger Van

The full-size van is pretty much non-existant thanks to the more popular minivan, but Nissan has just announced the introduction of the NV3500 HD full-size van.

The NV3500 HD is based on the NV commercial van, but features four rows of seats and seats up to 12 passengers. The NV3500 HD can be powered by either a 261 horsepower 4.0L V6 or a 317 horsepower V8. The NV3500 HD features a fully boxed ladder frame and a 28-gallon fuel tank.

"The Nissan NV3500 HD's styling is professional and rugged outside, and completely passenger-focused inside," said Joe Castelli, vice president, Commercial Vehicles and Fleet, Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA). "While you want to feel assured that there is room for all your luggage, for example, you don't want to be treated like a piece of cargo inside. We've found a great balance between functionality and comfort that we believe sets the new benchmark in class."

GM Allows Chevy Dealers to Sell Their Volt Demos

Ever since the Chevy Volt officially went on sale, GM has required dealers to keep at least one Volt on their lot as a demo model for interested buyers. GM is now notifying dealers that they are free to sell their Volt demo models.

Allowing dealers to sell their Volt demos will release about 2,300 models that will allow GM to get closer to its goal of selling 10,000 Volts this year. GM has only sold 5,300 units through October.

According to GM dealers have been asking to sell their Volt demos to keep up with customer demand. GM will reimburse dealers $1,500 to compensate for depreciation and the cost of removing the decals from the demo models. Dealers have to sell their demo models by January 3rd and then replace them by the end of January.

2012 Volvo C70 Inscription Edition Unveiled

Volvo isn't bringing anything big to the LA Auto Show next week, but the automaker has unveiled the C70 Inscription edition that will debut at the show.

The special-edition C70 gets a painted grille, black 18-inch wheels and LED daytime running lights. It's available in three colors: Black Stone, Black Sapphire and Ice White. Inside the C70 Inscription gets a leather-covered dashboard, Sovereign Hide upholstery in Off Black or Calcite and aluminum trim pieces.

"The C70 is a true icon in our model range. The Inscription is based on our human-centric Designed Around You philosophy, offering those who love convertibles and coupes a beautifully detailed version with a lot of kerb appeal," says Doug Speck, Senior Vice President Marketing, Sales and Customer Service at the Volvo Car Corporation.

The C70 Inscription will go on sale this month, with only 2,000 units planned. It's been reported that the C70 will be discontinued in 2013.

2013 Ford Flex Unveiled With a New Nose and More Power

The Ford Flex is getting a facelift. For the 2013 model year Ford has given the seven-passenger Flex a new face and new technology like adaptive cruise control.

The 2013 Ford Flex is going to be officially unveiled next week at the LA Auto Show. The new Flex is immediately noticeable thanks to its new front end, which Ford claims creates more visual harmony between the front and the rest of the Flex. The rear of the Flex gets standard dual exhaust.

Under the hood the base Ford Flex is powered by a 3.5L V6 that now puts out 285 horsepower, which is 20 more horsepower than the previous engine. The new Flex also saves you more gas thanks to getting 1 mpg more fuel economy, with projected fuel economy of 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. Of course if you want more power the Flex is available with the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 that packs 355 horsepower and 350 lb-ft. of torque.

Subaru Teases the Production-Spec BRZ Ahead of Tokyo Debut

Subaru is going to unveil the production ready version of the BRZ sports coupe at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. To get us ready for the unveiling Subaru has released the teaser you see here.

Subaru gave us an official preview of the BRZ with the BRZ STI concept that is going to debut next week at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The teaser that Subaru has released for the production version of the BRZ reveals that the BRZ is going to get round fog lights instead of the rectangular versions that the concept uses. The grille is also slightly different than the concept.

The BRZ will be powered by a 2.0L boxer engine with direct injection technology. It has a square bore and stroke of 86 by 86 mm and could put out around 300 horsepower. The engine will be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission

2013 Nissan GT-R Unveiled and Packs 545-HP

Nissan has unveiled the changes to its GT-R supercar, which will debut at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month.

Nissan has unveiled the Japanese-spec GT-R, which will be labeled as a 2012 model in Japan, but when it reaches the U.S. it will be the 2013 Nissan GT-R.

The 2013 Nissan GT-R is getting a boost under the hood. It's twin-turbocharged 3.8L engine now packs 545 horsepower and 463 lb-ft. of torque. Nissan claims that the engine response and torque are mid and low engine speeds has now been improved thanks to improvements to air intake and exhaust efficiency; better air flow resistance, which has been reduced by the addition of an intake manifold fitted to the head of each unit; and reduced air flow resistance thanks to a more compact under floor catalyzer which improves emissions efficiency and reduces weight.

The transmission also gets upgrades thanks to a strengthened design of the shift fork arm and a firmer fixing bearing for the flywheel housing. A special differential oil R35 Competition Type 2189E (75W140), which was developed for competition is now used in every version of GT-R.

Ceramic brakes are now available as a factory-installed option and right-hand-drive versions of the GT-R now get an asymmetrical suspension setup that compensates for the driver and propeller shaft for the front wheels being located on the right side of the vehicle.

Overall the upgrades help the GT-R shave off about 8 to 10 seconds of its Nürburgring lap time. Nissan also claims that the 0-60 time will be about 2.7 seconds.

Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept to Debut in Tokyo

Subaru has given us a preview of the Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept that is set to debut at this year's Tokyo Motor Show. The current Subaru Legacy/ Outback leaves much to be desired in terms of its styling, which Subaru is hopefully going to fix.

The Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept is described as a new-generation sports wagon that provides both superior driving performance and utility. It's aggressive exterior is a significant departure from Subaru's current designs. The concept is powered by a 1.6L boxer engine mated to an electric motor. The system is mated to Subaru's continuously variable transmission and Symmetrical AWD system.

The production version of the highly anticipated BRZ rear-wheel-drive sports car is also going to debut at the show.

BMW Celebrates 40 Years of M Division with M3 Competition Edition

BMW has announced the introduction of the M3 Competition Edition coupe for North America that celebrates 40 years since the introduction of the M division.

Only 40 units of the special M3 Competition Edition coupe will be produced. The special M3 coupe is painted in a Frozen Silver, rides on black 19-inch M3 GTS wheels and gets some dark chrome exterior trim pieces. The interior gets Black Novillo leather with palladium silver accents, an Alcantara M steering wheel and M logos on the door sill and handbrake lever.

The engine doesn't get any upgrades over the standard M3, so it still packs 414 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. It's a bit faster though with a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds compared to 4.7 seconds.

The 2012 M3 Competition Edition starts at $81,060.

2012 Honda Ridgeline Starts at $29,250

Honda has released all the details on the 2012 Ridgeline pickup that gets a few upgrades for the 2012 model year in addition to the new Ridgeline Sport model.

The 2012 Ridgeline gets a refreshed front grille and some aerodynamic improvements that increase the fuel economy rating of the Ridgeline by 1 mpg on the highway (15/21).

The new Ridgeline Sport model adds features to the base Ridgeline RT like black 18-inch alloy wheels, a black honeycomb grille with black surround, fog lights and blacked out headlights and taillights.

All Ridgeline models are powered by a 3.5L V6 that pumps out 250 horsepower and 247 lb-ft. of torque. The V6 is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission and Honda's Variable Torque Management 4-wheel-drive system.

The 2012 Ridgeline starts at $29,250, while the top of the line Ridgeline RTL with navigation starts at $37,180.

Opel Astra OPC Packs 280 HP, Please Come to the U.S.

Opel has unveiled the most powerful Astra ever, the Opel Astra OPC. The Opel Astra OPC is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder with 280 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque.

The Astra OPC (Opel Performance Center) starts with the Astra GTC, but dials up the performance even higher. It features the same high tech front-wheel suspension, HiPerStrut (High Performance Strut) of the Astra GTC, but gets a limited slip differential on the front axle. The FlexRide chassis lets the driver sharpen the characteristic shock absorber line, the steering and the gas pedal responsiveness with the touch of a "Sport" and "OPC" button. All that power is kept under control thanks to a high performance Brembo brake system.

The OPC stands out from the GTC thanks to unique front and rear bumpers, side skirts, an aerodynamic roof spoiler and two exhaust tail pipes in a trapeze shape. The inside of the Opel OPC gets Recaro bucket seats and a flat OPC sports leather steering wheel.

There's a strong possibility that the Astra OPC and GTC could come to the U.S. with a Buick badge. A recent contract negotiation between the UAW and GM revealed that a new compact vehicle will soon be built in the U.S. and sold as a Buick.

GM has officially announced plans to invest $380 Million in its Wentzville Assembly Plant to get it ready for the all-new Chevy Colorado midsize pickup.

"The all-new Colorado builds on Chevrolet's strong truck heritage," said Cathy Clegg, GM vice president of Labor Relations. "As we celebrate the first 100 years of Chevrolet today, it is exciting to bring this new global product to the Wentzville team. They also have a strong heritage - a long-standing commitment to building quality products."

GM originally debuted the all-new Chevy Colorado in Thailand, but has since announced that the Colorado will be sold in the U.S. The current Colorado will continue to be produced at the Shreveport plant through the 2012 model year. Timing for the next-gen Colorado has not been announced.

Land Rover Bringing Updated DC100 Concept to LA

Land Rover unveiled the DC100 and DC100 Sport concepts in Frankfurt two months ago. The concepts were a preview of a possible design direction for the next Defender. It's being reported that Land Rover is going to bring an updated version of the DC100 concept to the LA Auto Show that kicks off in two weeks.

The updated DC100 concept will gauge U.S. public reaction, which hopefully means that Land Rover is thinking about bringing the next Defender to the U.S.

The next Defender is still a ways off, since Land Rover plans to release it by 2015.

Ford Focus ST Gets U.S. Debut in LA

In addition to bringing another Fiesta ST concept to the LA Auto Show, Ford is going to debut the North American version of the Ford Focus ST at the show.

We first saw the production Focus ST at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The five-door Focus ST is powered by a 2.0L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower and 250 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

"This is the first time we have used a Ford EcoBoost engine in a high-performance model, and the result will leave drivers smiling," said Jost Capito, director of Global Performance Vehicles.

European buyers get a wagon version of the Focus ST, but sadly U.S. buyers only get the five-door hatchback.

Five-Door Ford Fiesta ST Concept Headed to LA

At the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, Ford unveiled the Fiesta ST concept, which was a high-performance version of the the three-door Fiesta. Now two months later Ford has unveiled a five-door version that is going to debut at the L.A. Auto Show later this month. Does this mean that Ford is going to release a hot version of the small Fiesta? According to Ford the concept hints at how a future Fiesta ST model might look when it joins the Focus ST in the global small car portfolio.

"The Fiesta has a rich history of high-performance models so a new ST performance model is a logical next step in our performance vehicle strategy for our global small cars," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development.

The Fiesta ST is powered by a 1.6L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that packs 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

Overall the concept we're going to see in LA is basically the same as the concept we saw two months ago, with the exception of an additional two doors.

2013 VW CC Shows Up Ahead of LA Debut

Four years ago VW brought us the CC four-door coupe, which was a more affordable take on the Mercedes-Benz CLS. Some 270,000 people worldwide have fallen in love with the stylish VW since it was introduced and now its time for a refresh.

The 2013 CC is going to debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in two weeks. The refreshed CC gets new front and rear styling and and more standard equipment like Bi-Xenon headlights with the Adaptive Front Lighting System and LED taillights.

VW hasn't announced what other changes the CC is getting, but it's expected to keep the same 2.0L and 3.6L engines as the current model. The 2013 CC will go on sale in the spring.

2012 Ford Focus Electric Starts at $39,200

The 2012 Ford Focus Electric has just shown up on Ford's online configurator with a base price of $39,200 before any state or federal tax credits. The actual total starting price is $39,995 after the $795 destination fees, so after the maximum $7,500 federal tax credit the price for the Focus Electric is $32,495.

Since most buyers will likely cross shop the Focus Electric against the Nissan Leaf, the 2012 Nissan Leaf starts at $35,200.

Of course there are ways to make the Focus Electric cost you even more, like selecting White Platinum paint ($495) or leather trimmed seats ($995).

Ford is now taking reservations for the 2012 Focus Electric.

Today is an historic day, as Ford opens up the order banks for the company's first full production, all-electric passenger vehicle - the Focus Electric," said Chad D'Arcy, Focus Electric Marketing Manager, Ford Motor Company. "The all-new Focus Electric is an important part of Ford's overall strategy, bringing still another option to customers who want a car that is fun-to-drive, easy to own and fully electric."

Chevy Volt Sales Pushed Past the Nissan Leaf in October

GM sold 1,108 Chevy Volt's last month, which was an increase of 53 percent over the prior month. Through October GM has sold 5,003, but the automaker set a sales forecast of 10,000 units in 2011, so it has a bit further to go. Although GM basically has to sell as many Volts as it did in the first 10 months of the year in the last two, GM isn't giving up on the goal.

"I've never given up on a sales target in my life," Don Johnson, GM's vice president of U.S. sales.

Chevy Volt sales are likely to increase thanks to an overhaul of the Detroit assembly plant in July, which significantly boosted production. GM is also going to start selling the Volt nationwide, since the initial launch only had the Volt on sale in seven U.S. states.

The all-electric Nissan Leaf found 849 homes last month, with total sales this year of 8,048.

Toyota's FT-86 Shows up Again in a TRD Catalog

We've got another leak of the upcoming Toyota FT-86/ Scion FR-S this time thanks to a TRD catalog that shows off the available TRD aero kit and other accessories that will be available for the new rear-wheel-drive coupe.

This is the third leak of the FT-86 following the Modellista catalog and a leaked training document.

Thankfully the leaks will soon be over since the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ are going to be unveiled in Tokyo at the end of the month.

Supercharged Honda Accord Coupe V6 HFP Concept Packs 335 HP

Honda has unveiled a new more powerful Honda Accord concept at the SEMA show in Las Vegas. The Accord Coupe V6 HFP Concept is the result of Honda's Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD) and is meant to demonstrate the performance potential of the Accord V6 coupe.

The Accord Coupe V6 HFP Concept packs a host of available HFP components, including a supercharger and performance air intake and exhaust systems. The modifications under the hood brings the output of the 3.5L V6 up to 335 hp and 285 lb-ft. of torque (up 64 hp and 34 ft. lbs in the standard Accord V6).

Honda created the concept to gauge consumer interest, but there are no plans to produce it. An all-new 2013 Accord is expected next spring.

VW GT up! Concept is a Baby GTI

Following up the release of the 2012 up! city car, VW has unveiled the GT up! Concept, which adds a bit more style and sport to the small VW.

The GT up! starts with the three-door hatchback, but then adds a larger grille to let in more air for the engine, which according to VW could put out more than 100 horsepower. The bumper also employs larger ducts with LED daytime lights to help cool the front brakes. The GT up! concept rides on 17-inch alloy wheels and the rear of the concept gets a new roof spoiler and a black diffuser with dual tailpipes.

The sportier theme continues on the inside with anthracite-colored seats offset by central panels with a blue checkered pattern that recalls the seats in the VW GTI.

The GT up! concept hasn't been confirmed for production, but it's a possibility one day.

2013 Ford Escape's Liftgate Opens and Closes with a Kick

The all-new 2013 Ford Escape is going to debut this month in LA and while Ford has confirmed the lineup of four-cylinder engines that will power the new Escape, we have yet to see what it will look like. Well we still have to wait a bit longer, but Ford has announced that the 2013 Escape will get a segment-first hands-free liftgate that opens and closes with a simple kicking motion under the rear bumper.

The new hands-free power liftgate does away with the need for a key.

"The hands-free power liftgate is yet another innovative Ford technology that makes customers' lives easier," said Jason Sprawka, Escape brand manager. "New Escape owners will be able to load their vehicle without ever having to set packages or gear down."

The hands-free liftgate builds upon systems that allow drivers to open and start their vehicles without actually ever taking the key out of their pockets. The hands-free liftgate uses two sensors in the rear bumper to detect a person's shin and kicking motion. The system safeguards against accidental opening by being programmed to open with leg motions - not when an animal runs under the car or when the vehicle hits a bump on the road.

2012 Honda CR-V Delayed Again

Honda has had a tough year with the devastating earthquake in Japan and now the flooding in Thailand has hurt production again. Honda has announced that due to the flooding in Thailand many of its suppliers in Asia currently are unable to maintain parts production, which is disrupting the flow of parts to production operations in North America.

So what does this mean? Honda is going to temporarily adjust automobile production at all six Honda auto plants in the U.S. and Canada. Production is expected to drop off by 50 percent, but the worst part of the announcement is that the all-new 2012 CR-V will most likely be delayed again. It was already delayed due to the earthquake earlier this year and was expected to go on sale next month, but the newest delay could push that on sale date back by several weeks.

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

The auto industry showed signs of improvement last month with many of the automaker's posting sales gains over the same period in 2010. Chrysler came out on top last month with sales up 27 percent, while Nissan's sales were up 18 percent. Ford's sales increased a modest 6 percent, which was brought down thanks to Lincoln and GM posted a very small increase of just under 2 percent.

The top-10 list from October saw the Honda Accord stealing the top spot from the Toyota Camry, which is all-new for 2012. The Camry's decline is largely due to the switchover from the outgoing 2011 to the all-new 2012 Camry that is just starting to show up in dealers. So the Camry could return back to the top spot in November. Other noteworthy winners last month were the Ford Escape, which saw its sales rise just over 30 percent and the Ram pickups, which saw a nice 25 percent increase.

Check out the list after the jump...

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Confirmed

This isn't really a surprise, but Hyundai has now officially confirmed that the Hyundai Veloster is going to get the new 1.6L turbocharged engine that the automaker recently unveiled.

Hyundai's CEO John Krafcik has confirmed that the turbocharged Veloster will debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January. The refreshed Genesis coupe will also debut at the show. Hyundai has confirmed that the turbocharged 1.6L will pack 204 horsepower and 195 lb-ft. of torque, which should give the Veloster some much needed power. Hyundai hasn't announced what other upgrades the turbocharged Veloster will get.

The Genesis coupe's 2.0L turbocharged engine is also going to get some power upgrades to separate it from the Veloster's turbo.

Subaru BRZ STI Concept Revealed Ahead of LA Debut

Subaru is set to debut the BRZ sports car at the Tokyo Motor Show later this year, but it's going to tease us one more time in two weeks at the Los Angeles Auto Show with the BRZ Concept - STI.

This BRZ Concept - STI is the first time that we're actually seeing a full concept version of Subaru's new rear-wheel-drive coupe, we've only seen concepts of the FT-86 and Scion FR-S. The overall design is very similar to Toyota's version, although it gets a different rear end with a large rear wing. The concept is painted in Subaru's "WR Blue Pearl II," which is a new generation of the iconic WR blue paint scheme that has been used on production STI's.

Although the concept basically shows off what an STI version of the BRZ could be like, it unfortunately doesn't have any more power under the hood than the standard engine that will power the BRZ. It's still got the naturally-aspirated 2.0L boxer engine. The BRZ Concept - STI features an STI-tuned suspension, Brembo brakes and unique 18-inch wheels and tires.

Come back in two weeks to see all the photos from the show.

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