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December 2011 Archives

December 1, 2011

BMW to Supply Toyota with Diesel Engines

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BMW and Toyota have announced a new partnership which will see BMW supplying its 1.6L and 2.0L diesel engines to Toyota starting in 2014. The engines will be used in certain Toyota models in Europe, so don't expect to see a BMW diesel engine under the hood of a Toyota in the U.S. anytime soon.

The two automakers have agreed on a collaborative research in the field of next-generation lithium-ion battery technologies. In addition, they have agreed to identify and discuss other possible collaborative projects.

Marking the announcement, Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said: "Toyota is the leading provider of environment-friendly series technology in the volume segment and the BMW Group is the most innovative and sustainable manufacturer of premium automobiles. We are now joining forces to further develop environment-friendly technologies and to expand our innovation leadership in each of our segments. Supplying Toyota with our fuel efficient and dynamic diesel engines represents another important step in the planned expansion of our sales activities for engines and powertrain systems."

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Chevy Volt Grabs Top Spot in Consumer Reports Owner Satisfaction Survey

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Consumer Reports has announced that the Chevy Volt has beat out the V8-powered Dodge Challenger and the Porsche 911 as the top-scoring model in Consumer Reports' latest annual owner-satisfaction survey. 93 percent of Chevy Volt owners said that they would buy the Volt again. The Challenger and 911 both had owner-satisfaction scores of 91 percent.

Although the Volt managed to take the top spot in its survey, Consumer Reports quickly points out that the Volt had only been in showrooms a few months when the survey was conducted and the score may change as the car rolls out to a wider audience and owners spend more time with their vehicles.

The survey was also conducted before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it would conduct a safety investigation into plug-in hybrid sedans following an incident with a Chevy Volt catching fire after being crash tested.

"These models reflect a larger trend we've seen in recent years: Sporty cars and fuel efficient cars with alternative drivetrains tend to generate more enthusiasm and loyalty than most other types of vehicles," said Rik Paul, Consumer Reports automotive editor.

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

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Thanksgiving has come and gone, but Christmas and the new year are right around the corner. Today is the first day of December and with that we have the sales totals from November, which turned out to be a great month for most of the automakers.

Out of the big automakers, Honda was the only one that didn't have a good month, which was largely due to low inventory levels of the CR-V and Accord models. The Accord held the number 3 spot in October, but completely fell off the top-10 list in November. At least an all-new 2013 Accord is slated for the spring.

The top two spots were occupied by the regulars, the Ford F-Series and Chevy Silverado. The Toyota Camry came in third meaning it maintained its hold on the top selling car in the list. The Ford Escape was the top selling SUV in the list.

Check out the list after the jump.

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December 2, 2011

Toyota is Reportedly Already Working on a Supercharged GT 86

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This week Toyota officially unveiled the GT 86 and the Scion FR-S rear-wheel-drive sport coupe, which is slated to go on sale in the spring in the U.S. Now there are already reports surfacing that Toyota is already working on a supercharged version of the coupe.

According to Chief engineer Tetsuo Tada, test cars have already been produced and are being tested by Toyota Racing Development (TRD). According to Tada, Toyota is leaning more towards a supercharged version of the GT 86 because it won't wreck the throttle response of the engine, like a single turbocharger might. Tada also stated, "turbocharging along with four-wheel drive and wide tires are what make sports cars boring to drive."

Toyota has a lot of experience with supercharging, since TRD has been offering forced induction systems as an aftermarket kit since 1998. It's not known if the supercharger for the GT 86/ FR-S would be sold straight from the factory, or if it would be an aftermarket TRD kit. It also hasn't been confirmed how much extra power the supercharger will add to the 197 horsepower 2.0L engine, but Toyota claims that the current chassis can easily handle another 50 horsepower. TRD is also looking at ways to beef up the suspension to handle even more power.

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Honda's CEO Takes Responsibility for the Civic's Poor Reception

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The all-new US-spec 2012 Honda Civic launched this past spring and immediately the Civic was criticized for its boring redesign and lower quality than previous Civics. Consumer Reports even took the Civic off its "recommended" list because CR claimed that the 2012 Civic has a lower quality interior, rides worse and has more road noise than the previous model.

The Civic's poor reception combined with reduced inventory have resulted in a 15 percent sales drop in the first 10 months of this year, while the market is up 10 percent. Honda's CEO Takanobu Ito has now taken full responsibility for the Civic's decline in the U.S. market.

According to the Automotive News, Ito stated, "The ultimate responsibility rests with me. We take inputs from the various markets with sincerity and try to work out the best actions for what we have observed. Those decisions rest with me."

Since the new Civic was under development when the U.S. economy imploded in 2008. Honda predicted that buyers would want lowered priced cars with less features. Honda's prediction was wrong, which has been a blessing for the Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus and Chevy Cruze, which have all received full redesigns with more available equipment.

In order to fix the Civic's troubles Honda is going to move up its redesign, according to American Honda executive vice president John Mendel. It's mid-cycle change could come as early as the 2013 calendar year, which would be a year ahead of Honda's typical schedule.

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2014 Mazda MX-5 to Get Turbocharged SkyActiv Engine

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According to Autocar, the next Mazda MX-5 Miata will be powered by a turbocharged 1.3L SkyActiv engine, which will replace the current 167 horsepower 2.0L.

The new 1.3L engine will employ SkyActiv technologies like variable cam phasing with lower friction parts to boost performance and fuel economy. The 1.3L will also be mated to reduced-friction transmissions.

Nothing has been confirmed yet, but the 2014 MX-5 Miata is expected to be based on the new rear-wheel-drive S-platform. Mazda's engineers have been tasked with dropping the MX-5's weight significantly. One insider claims that Mazda has a goal of dropping the curb weight to 800 kg (1,760 lbs). The next MX-5 will be smaller and get Mazda's new Kodo design theme, which was first shown on the Shinari concept.

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2013 Cadillac ATS and Three Other GM Models to Debut in Detroit

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GM has announced that the 2013 Cadillac ATS compact rear wheel drive sedan and three other concept or production vehicles will debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

"ATS is a crucial part of Cadillac's expansion," GM Senior Vice President of Global Product Development Mary Barra told the Automotive Press Association on Friday. "ATS enters the biggest market segment in the global luxury car industry, both in terms of volume and importance.

"It's a segment dominated by German cars, including the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4, so we've developed a compelling and convincing new challenger," she said.

The 2013 Cadillac ATS will go into production next summer at the Lansing, Mich., Grand River Assembly plant.

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December 3, 2011

VIDEO: Subaru BRZ GT300 Hits the Track

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Subaru officially unveiled the rear-wheel-drive BRZ this week in Tokyo. When the 2013 BRZ was unveiled Subaru also announced plans for the BRZ to compete in next year's Super GT Series in Japan, as the BRZ GT300.

Subaru has released the first video of the BRZ GT300 hitting the track.

Check out the video after the jump...

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December 5, 2011

VIDEO: Eight Ferraris Totaled in Sportscar Pileup in Japan

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Over the weekend a total eight Ferraris, a Lamborghini and two Mercedes were involved in a pileup in Japan. According to reports the accident was caused when one of the drivers lost control of his Ferrari while trying to change lanes. His supercar lost control and collided with the other cars. The accident occurred on the rain-soaked Chugoku Expressway in Yamaguchi Prefecture on the island of Honshu.

Fortunately no one out of the 14 cars involved was seriously hurt, although 10 were taken to the hospital. Sadly as you can tell from this video most of the cars involved are beyond repair. According to Bloomberg, the 60-year old man suspected of causing the accident could face up to three months in jail.

Check out the video after the jump...

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A Mazda6 Coupe is Reportedly in the Works?

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New reports are surfacing that Mazda is working on a new four-seat coupe version of the next Mazda6.

The next-generation Mazda6 is set to be released in January 2013, but according to What Car? the coupe version will not debut until about a year later in 2014. The coupe version is expected to be powered by the same SkyActiv engines as the four-door version.

It's not known if the Mazda6 coupe will be sold in the U.S. Mazda previewed the next-generation Mazda6 with the Takeri concept at this year's Tokyo Motor Show.

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Range Rover Evoque Success Leads to a Bigger Evoque

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There have been reports that Land Rover is planning a bigger Evoque to fill the gap between the Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport models. Autocar is reporting that the success of the smaller Evoque and the growth of the brand is going to lead to the introduction of a bigger Evoque.

The success of BMW and Audi's SUV lineup has prompted Land Rover to broaden its Range Rover lineup, which includes a new model that will sit between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport. The next-generation Range Rover Sport is expected to move even further upmarket, so a new "Grand Evoque" is definitely needed.

The Grand Evoque will be based on the same platform as the current Evoque, but will be stretched about 12 inches. The extra length will provide more room for rear seat passengers and more cargo room. A third-row seat is also a possibility, but could be hard if designers are trying to maintain the Evoque's coupe-like roofline.

Autocar reports that the Grand Evoque will likely be powered by a new range of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines. It's expected to launch by 2015.

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December 6, 2011

Chrysler Previews the 2013 Dodge Dart Compact Sedan

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Chrysler has released the first official teaser photos of the upcoming 2013 Dodge Dart compact sedan, which is set to make its debut next month at the Detroit Auto Show.

According to Chrysler the 2013 Dodge Dart fuses "Alfa Romeo DNA and Dodge's passion for performance." The Dart is based on the Fiat platform that is the basis for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Although the Dart borrows its platform from the Giulietta, its been widened and lengthened.

Buyers will have the choice between three four-cylinder engines when the Dart is released: a Tigershark 16-valve 2.0-liter engine, a 16-valve 1.4-liter MultiAir Intercooled Turbo engine, and a new Tigershark 16-valve 2.4-liter MultiAir four cylinder engine. There will also be three transmission choices.

Stay tuned.

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Toyota to Export U.S. Made Camrys to South Korea

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Toyota has announced plans to export Camry sedans made in the U.S. to South Korea. Toyota plans to initially export 6,000 units annually.

This is the first time that the U.S.-made Camry has ever been exported outside of North America.

"We are pleased with the reaction that the redesigned Camry is receiving from our customers, and the sales success it is having in the U.S. and overseas," said Yoshimi Inaba, president and COO of Toyota Motor North America, Inc. "The export of thousands of Camry vehicles to South Korea is an important development that builds on the great work of our talented U.S. team members as well as our extensive investments across North America to help maintain a strong, stable base of U.S. jobs. We look forward to other opportunities to continue growing exports from our American operations."

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Toyota Prius GT300 Race Car Slated to Race in Japan's Super GT

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Subaru recently announced that the 2013 Subaru BRZ is going to race in Japan's Super GT next year and now Toyota's Prius is rumored to enter the race as well.

Motorpassion F1 has reported that next year's Super GT series will see the Toyota Prius as well as Honda's CR-Z hybrid compete in the GT300 class.

We'll have all the details next month.

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December 7, 2011

Smart For-Us Pickup Concept to Debut in Detroit

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Smart's current small two-seater ForTwo model is great for trying to fit into tiny parking spots in the city, but it's tiny size leaves little room for anything besides you and your one friend. Well what if Smart were to make a larger model, that was still a two seater, but had more room for your stuff? Smart has just released the first sketches of its new For-Us pickup concept, which is Smart's take on what an urban pickup should look like.

"We at smart love pick-ups - if they are small on the outside, large on the inside, very safe and extremely comfortable. With the smart for-us a petrol station is no longer required! And a storage area for the ebike is always available on board," stated Smart CEO Dr. Annette Winkler.

Although Smart is calling the new concept a pickup truck, it's still pretty small at only 140 inches long, 59 inches wide and 67 inches tall. It has room for two and two Smart ebikes in the back. A docking station in the cargo area also makes sure that the ebikes are fully charged.

The For-Us concept is powered by the same 74 horsepower electric setup as the ForTwo electric drive that is going to be released in the spring of 2012.

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2013 Dodge Dart to Get 9-Speed Transmission and 40 MPG

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Yesterday Chrysler gave us our first official look at the 2013 Dodge Dart compact sedan. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne stated when the photos were released that Chrysler expects the Dart to get at least 40 mpg.

The 2013 Dodge Dart will be powered by three engines, a 2.0L and 2.4L engine as well as a small 1.4L turbocharged engine. Initially the Dart will get a Fiat-sourced 6-speed dual-clutch transmission, but in 2013 a new 9-speed transmission will be available. The 9-speed transmission is expected to increase the Dart's fuel efficiency by 10 to 16 percent over the 6-speed transmission.

The 2013 Dodge Dart will be officially unveiled next month in Detroit.

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December 8, 2011

2012 Toyota Camry Gets Five-Star NHTSA Safety Rating

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The 2012 Toyota Camry has earned the top five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

"We are very pleased that the all-new 2012 Camry has earned a five-star composite safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The fact that the Camry earned this five-star overall score after enduring a more rigorous NHTSA testing procedure targeted at raising the bar for overall vehicle safety is testament to the strong design, and safety-focused engineering consumers can expect in the nation's top-selling car."

The 2012 Toyota Camry features a reinforced body structure that utilizes high-strength steel construction to help withstand cabin deformity during certain severe collisions, absorb impact energies and help enhance occupant safety. The 2012 Camry also packs 10 standard airbags.

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Nissan Unveils New Track Pack for the GT-R

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Nissan has already announced that the 2013 Nissan GT-R is getting some power upgrades in the form of 545 horsepower and 463 lb-ft. of torque from its supercharged 3.8L V6. If the upgrades are still not enough and you want an edge on the track, Nissan is going to offer a new Track Pack for the GT-R.

On the outside, the most noticeable difference is the lightweight six-spoke RAYS alloy-wheels with gloss black painted centers. The brakes are are cooled by additional cooling ducts built into the front bumper, which reduces the operating temperature of the front brake discs by as much as 100 degrees during track use. Ducts hidden behind the rear wheels, channel cooling air over the rear discs. Lastly the suspension's spring rates have been revised.

Inside the Recaro are covered in a high grip material and the rear seats have been deleted to save weight.

In the UK the Track Pack adds £10,000 to the £74,450 list price of the standard GT-R, making it £84,450. U.S. pricing hasn't been announced.

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Audi's BMW X6 Rival Confirmed

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It's already been rumored, but now we have a confirmation from Walter de' Silva, design boss at VW that Audi is going to release a rival to the BMW X6.

Ever since rumors started about an Audi rival, it's been dubbed the Audi Q6, since it will slot in between Audi's Q7 and Q5 crossovers. De' Silva didn't release any details on when the new model will arrive.

De' Silva also stated that Audi is currently mulling the idea of a smaller SUV that will fit in between the Q5 and Q3. The model, most likely to be named the Q4 will go head to head with BMW's X4 that is going to arrive in 2014.

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Next-Gen Subaru WRX to get Turbocharged 2.0L BRZ Engine with 270 HP

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Subaru has confirmed that the next-generation Subaru WRX will be powered by a 270 horsepower turbocharged version of the 2.0L engine that powers the 2013 Subaru BRZ.

Currently the WRX is powered by a 265 horsepower 2.5L engine. The new smaller engine will pack slightly more power and is expected to also be more fuel efficient that the current 2.5L The current WRX gets 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.

Subaru has already announced that the next-generation WRX and WRX STI will be further differentiated from the Impreza, but will likely still be based on the same platform. Subaru hasn't confirmed when the next WRX will debut, but it's expected to debut sometime next year as a 2013 model.

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December 9, 2011

VW to Release a Range Rover Evoque Rival by 2014

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VW unveiled the Cross Coupe concept at this year's Tokyo Motor Show, which was a preview of the design of VW's future SUVs and a possible new model that would be smaller than the Tiguan.

According to VW R&D boss Ulrich Hackenberg, VW is reportedly using the concept to test reaction to a new compact crossover that would go head to head with the Range Rover Evoque.

"We think the SUV segment will grow, and the number of SUV variants will grow," he said. "Customers are showing that they like SUVs with a sporty, muscular image, and especially because of the high seating position."

The Cross Coupe, if it's produced could also lead to other variants, including a three-door version. The overall styling of the Cross Coupe concept will also show up in future VW SUVs like the Tiguan. The front end of the concept is expected to heavily influence the face of the next Tiguan.

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is Toyota Working on a Sportier iQ?

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It looks like Toyota may be working on a sportier version of the iQ minicar thanks to the recently patent renderings that have been leaked. The guys over at Carscoop have uncovered renderings that show an iQ fitted with a wide body kit with a front fascia that has a large front grille and side openings. The kit also includes widened wheel arches and a new rear bumper with twin tailpipes.

Check out all the photos here.

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Last Ford Ranger to be Built Next Week

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It's the end of the line for the US-spec Ford Ranger. Next week Ford is going to produce the last Ford Ranger at its plant in St. Paul, Minnesota. It looks like that last Ford Ranger has already been spoken for, by the pest control company, Orkin.

The Ford Ranger name first appeared in 1965 as a package for the the F-Series pickup, but in 1982 it became a compact pickup truck. 30 years later, Ford has decided to focus its energy on the F-Series.

Although Ford is abandoning the segment, GM remains committed to it with the next-generation Chevy Colorado.

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December 10, 2011

Volvo Designer Imagines a Modern Day P1800

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In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic Volvo P1800, Volvo Design Director Christopher Benjamin has created these sketches of his interpretation of a modern day P1800.

Benjamin's sketches combine the classic lines of the original P1800 with the modern day Concept You sedan that was unveiled this year in Frankfurt.

Sadly Volvo has no plans for a new P1800.

Continue reading "Volvo Designer Imagines a Modern Day P1800" »

VIDEO: Fiat 500 Gets Disappointing 3-Star NHTSA Safety Rating

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Uh Oh! Sales of the Fiat 500 are already lower than was expected and now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the Fiat 500 a three-star safety rating, which is the lowest rating of any new model tested.

The tiny Fiat 500 received a four-star rating in the frontal crash and rollover tests, but only received a two-star rating in the side impact test. To compare, the Ford Fiesta subcompact has a combined four-star rating, but the crash ratings for other small cars like the Mini Cooper and 2012 Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and Chevy Sonic have not been released.

Although NHTSA has given the Fiat 500 its lowest score, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently named the 500 a Top Safety Pick.

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December 11, 2011

2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe Officially Unveiled

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BMW has officially unveiled its rival to the Mercedes CLS, the 2013 6 Series Gran Coupe.

The 6 Series Gran Coupe finally gives BMW a four-door coupe. The Gran Coupe is the third 6 Series model that was originally previewed by the Gran Coupe concept back in 2010. If you're a fan of the styling of the 6 Series coupe, you'll be happy to see that the four-door Gran Coupe's design doesn't stray too far from the coupe. Compared to the two-door, the Gran Coupe is 4.4 inches longer.

When it arrives in the U.S. next summer, the Gran Coupe will first be offered as the 640i with its 3.0L turbocharged six-cylinder. The 640i will pack 315 horsepower and 330 lb-ft. of torque. It will reach 0-62 mph in 5.4 seconds and have a top speed of 155 mph. Shortly after the 640i arrives, the 650i and 650i xDrive versions will be released. The 650i Gran Coupe will be powered by a 445 horsepower 4.4L twin-turbo V8. The 650i Gran Coupe will reach 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds.

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December 12, 2011

2013 Honda Accord Coupe Concept to Debut in Detroit

Accord_Concept_Logo.jpgHonda has announced that the 2013 Accord Coupe Concept will debut next month in Detroit. The Accord Coupe concept will be a preview of the all-new ninth-generation 2013 Accord that is set to go on sale in the fall of 2012.

Honda hasn't released any details about the new Accord, other than stating, "The Accord Coupe Concept will convey the dynamic and aggressive profile" of the next Accord. The Accord Concept will be officially unveiled on January 10th.

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2013 Acura ILX Compact Sedan and Next-Generation RDX Headed to Detroit

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Next month Acura is set to debut three new vehicles at the Detroit Auto Show. Acura has announced that an all-new compact sports sedan, a redesigned RDX crossover and a concept version of the next-generation Acura NSX will debut at the show.

The Acura ILX concept is a preview of an all-new luxury compact sedan scheduled for launch in spring 2012. The new ILX compact sedan is based on the Honda Civic and will be offered with three powertrains including Acura's first-ever gas-electric hybrid. The ILX will also be the first Acura to be produced at Honda's plant in Greensburg, Indiana. The RDX that we will see next month is a prototype of the second-generation 2013 RDX.. The 2013 RDX will continue to be based on the Honda CR-V, but will ditch the current turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder for a more powerful V6 engine. The V6 will also be more fuel-efficient than the current four-cylinder. The NSX concept is a preview of the styling direction of the new NSX.

"Acura has a steady cadence of exciting new models coming to market and it will all begin in Detroit," said Jeff Conrad, vice president and general manager of Acura sales and service. "From the all-new Acura ILX at the gateway of the lineup to the pinnacle of performance with the Acura NSX Concept, Acura vehicles are being created for luxury customers who aspire to the highest levels of quality and value, with beautiful styling and the right balance of technology, performance and environmental responsibility."

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2013 Acura RL Successor to Debut in New York

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The next-generation of Acura's flagship sedan is going to debut in the spring at the 2012 New York Auto Show. The 2013 successor to the RL will go on sale by the end of next year, but according to Inside Line, Acura has not decided if its flagship sedan will continue to use the RL name or if a new name will be used. The new flagship sedan will be larger than the current RL. Acura officials claim that it is going to have the interior space of a BMW 7 Series, but will drive more like the smaller 5 Series. The 2013 Acura sedan will get more distinctive styling and is going to be offered with the choice of a V6 engine or a V6 hybrid system with all-wheel-drive. The hybrid system, which is also going to be offered on the next NSX features a 3.5L V6, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a 20kW electric motor on each of the rear wheels. According to Honda the hybrid system has the power of a V8, but the fuel-efficiency of a four-cylinder.

With the upcoming introduction of the new ILX compact sedan, the fate of the TSX and TL sedans is still a question. Acura has announced plans to only have three sedans in its lineup that are further differentiated than the current lineup. The TSX and TL sedans will most likely be replaced by one midsize sedan.

Continue reading "2013 Acura RL Successor to Debut in New York" »

Lexus Teases New Concept Vehicle for Detroit

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Lexus has announced plans to unveil a new concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

On January 9th, Lexus will take the wraps off its newest concept that was designed by by Calty, Lexus' design studio in Newport Beach, California. Lexus has released a single teaser photo of the new concept that is supposed to show off the automaker's new direction.

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2013 Dodge Dart Interior Teased

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Following last week's first teaser photos of the 2013 Dodge Dart, Chrysler has released new details about what we can expect on the inside of the new compact sedan.

The 2013 Dodge Dart will be officially unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show on January 9. According to Chrysler the Dodge Dart will have an interior that is made with materials and technology typically found in more expensive vehicle segments. The overall design of the interior is focused on the driver, which means that the all the controls are within easy reach of the driver.

The 2013 Dart will feature an interior that is as spacious as a midsize sedan with 14 interior color and trim combinations. The Dart will get a seven-inch color Thin Film Transistor (TFT) display in the middle of the instrument panel that allows the driver to switch back and forth between different display models. The center stack in the Dart can be equipped with Chrysler's UConnect infotainment system, which in the Dart features an 8.4-inch touchscreen, the largest touchscreen in its class.

The Dart will be available with 12 exterior colors, six wheel options in addition to the three engine options and three transmissions. Safety is also a priority with 10 standard airbags and available Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path Detection.

Continue reading "2013 Dodge Dart Interior Teased" »

December 13, 2011

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL Brochure Leaks Out

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Mercedes-Benz planned on giving us our first official look at the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL next month in Detroit, but a leaked brochure has now foiled those plans.

The photos you see here come courtesy of Autoblog.nl and a leaked brochure for the new SL. If these photos are accurate, the all-new SL will keep the same basic shape from the current model, with styling cues from the smaller SLK.

The all-new SL will be about 300 pounds lighter than the current model thanks to the extensive use of aluminum and magnesium.

Although the 2013 SL is going to debut next month, don't be surprised if Mercedes-Benz releases photos prior to the show.

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2012 Ford F-150 Wins Motor Trend's Truck of the Year Award

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The 2012 Ford F-150 has been named Motor Trend's Truck of the Year, which marks the fourth time the F-150 has won the award.

"The 2012 F-150 is a no-compromise solution that can be tailored to fit virtually every customer's needs, and the Motor Trend Truck of the Year award further reinforces that this is truly the best choice for America's truck owners," said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. "We are proud to receive this award and even more pleased that our F-150 customers have additional validation of their top choice."

Motor Trend editors chose the F-150 because they said, "F-150s are built to work and felt better the more they were challenged. Ford offers an enormous variety of configurations and designs, making the truck tailorable to just about any need. It's the combination of advancement in design, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value, and the performance of intended function that has earned the Ford F-150 the title of Motor Trend's 2012 Truck of the Year."

The F-150 previously won the award in 1989, 1997, 2004 and 2009.

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Volvo Drops the Details on the V60 Plug-In Hybrid

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Volvo is set to release the world's first diesel plug-in hybrid in the Europe late next year, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid, which will start at around $70,000.

The V60 Plug-In Hybrid is powered by a 215 horsepower 2.4L five-cylinder turbodiesel engine that powers the front wheels, while the rear wheels are powered by a 70 horsepower electric motor. The electric motor gets its juice from a 11.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

The hybrid features three driving modes: Pure, Hybrid and Power. In pure mode the car is mainly powered solely by the electric motor as much as possible for up to 32 miles. The electric range varies with terrain, climate and driving style. The Hybrid mode is the standard setting when the car is started. The diesel engine and electric motor cooperate to ensure optimal balance between driving pleasure and environmental footprint. In Hybrid mode the V60 has a range of 621 miles. Lastly in Power mode the technology is optimized to give the car the maximum possible power. The diesel engine and electric motor have a combined output of 285 horsepower and can accelerate the V60 from 0-62 mph in 6.2 seconds.

The V60 Plug-In Hybrid will will be launched in just one color - Electric Silver. The interior of the V60 Plug-in Hybrid has black leather upholstery with contrasting stitching and inlays of blue-grey wood.

Volvo is going to launch a plug-in hybrid in the U.S. next year, but it will use a gasoline engine, instead of the diesel setup in Europe.

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2013 Mercedes-Benz SL Photos Totally Leaked

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Yesterday we saw our first unofficial photos of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL thanks to a leaked brochure. A day later we now have a bunch of official photos thanks to the guys over at GermanCarForum.com.

Expect to get all the details soon, but for now enjoy...

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Dodge Reveals the 2013 Dodge Dart's Dashboard

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Yesterday Dodge released the second batch of teaser photos of the 2013 Dodge Dart. The second batch gave us a preview of what we can expect the interior to look like, but now we have an even clearer view of the dashboard.

Dodge released a new photo of the Dart's dashboard on its Facebook page today. This new photo provides a first look at the Dart's steering wheel, center console, and cup holders.

The 2013 Dodge Dart will officially debut next month at the Detroit Auto Show.

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December 14, 2011

Volkswagen to Debut Jetta Hybrid and Electric Concept in Detroit

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Next month VW is going to debut a new electric car concept at the Detroit Auto Show in addition to a hybrid version of the Jetta.

The electric car is being labeled as strictly a concept car and it is not based on any current VW production car. Although the concept car may borrow some styling cues from the VW Beetle.

The Jetta hybrid will be a be powered by a turbocharged 1.4L engine mated to an electric motor. The Jetta hybrid will arrive in showrooms late next year.

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Ford Lets You Experience the All-New 2013 Fusion in a New App

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Ford is going to unveil the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion at the Detroit Auto Show, next month. In the meantime Ford is letting us virtually test drive the new Fusion with a new mobile app that has virtual images of the Fusion.

"We want to have an exciting and interactive way to build anticipation leading up to the reveal of the all-new Fusion," said Samantha Hoyt, Fusion Marketing manager. "The app allows consumers to learn about the advanced technology and design of the car in a fun and easy-to-use way while reinforcing the transformative nature of the Fusion."

The app operates on the Android and iOS operating systems, on smartphones and tablets such as the iPhone, iPad and Droid. The experience is initiated by finding and capturing a Ford logo using the mobile device's camera. The Ford logo will appear on the screen as a button that starts the program. Operating like a video game, the app then allows consumers to drive a digitally camouflaged new Fusion on a track.

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Toyota Supra Reportedly in the Works with 400-HP Hybrid System

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Rumors are continuing to circulate that Toyota is going to bring the Supra back to life. If you remember the Supra was killed off in the 1990's, but now that Toyota is back in the sports car market with the GT-86, a new Supra is a possibility.

According to Motor Trend, Toyota is working on a successor to the Supra that is being tested with a a 3.5-liter V-6 hybrid system that packs more than 400 horsepower. Toyota is reportedly waiting to see how well the GT-86 does before the Supra gets the green light, which means it most likely won't come out until 2015.

The Supra successor is reportedly also going to take styling cues from the FT-HS concept that you see here, that debuted in 2007.

Let's hope the GT-86 does well!

Continue reading "Toyota Supra Reportedly in the Works with 400-HP Hybrid System" »

2013 Cadillac ATS Confirmed with 270-HP 2.0L Turbo

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GM has officially confirmed that the upcoming 2013 Cadillac ATS will be powered by a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder.

The 2.0L is expected to produce 270 horsepower, which equals a nice 135 horsepower per liter. It also packs 260 lb-ft. of torque, 90 percent of the torque being available between 1,500 rpm to 5,800 rpm.

"This engine is the perfect match for the new ATS, which will be a refined performance luxury sedan," said Don Butler, Cadillac vice president of Global Marketing. "The 2.0T has an exceptionally smooth and responsive power curve that will make the ATS nimble, quick and fun to drive."

The 2013 ATS will also be offered with a naturally-aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder and a 3.6L V6.

The ATS will be officially unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

Continue reading "2013 Cadillac ATS Confirmed with 270-HP 2.0L Turbo" »

2013 Buick Encore Teaser Released Ahead of Detroit Debut

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As we get closer and closer to the Detroit Auto Show, automakers are giving us more details about what we can expect at the show. GM has just released a teaser photo of its new 2013 Buick Encore five-passenger crossover that is going to be unveiled next month.

According to GM the "Encore will offer contemporary styling, signature QuietTuning technology, and a host of features and amenities customers expect from Buicks today."

A new Encore tab on www.facebook.com/buick will feature a covered photograph of the vehicle. Each week leading up to the reveal, Buick will uncover a section of the photo. The final image will be revealed the same morning Encore takes the stage at the Cobo Center in Detroit.

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December 15, 2011

Ford C-MAX Hybrids Deliver Better Fuel Economy than the Toyota Prius

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Ford has released more details about the upcoming 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid models. Both the C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi use the Ford's next-generation powersplit hybrid technology in combination with a lighter, smaller lithium-ion battery system. Both models pair the high-voltage lithium-ion battery and electric traction motor with a 2.0L Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine. According to Ford the new system allows the gasoline engine to run less.

Ford claims that the C-MAX Hybrid will deliver better fuel economy than the Toyota Prius V. The C-MAX Energi is expected to deliver better MPGe in electric mode than the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid and will have a driving range more than 500 miles using the battery and engine.

"C-MAX is the right car for the time as it combines the dynamics and quality of a traditional car with the versatility of a MAV and leading fuel efficiency that you cannot even get from Toyota," said Sherif Marakby, director of Ford's Electrification Programs and Engineering.

Continue reading "Ford C-MAX Hybrids Deliver Better Fuel Economy than the Toyota Prius" »

2012 Ford Focus Electric Gets 100 MPGe Rating

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Ford has announced that the 2012 Focus Electric is expected to be the first five-passenger, all-electric car to achieve more than a 100 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) fuel efficiency rating.

"The Focus Electric is a shining example of the leading fuel economy Ford is offering for each new vehicle," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "Whether people want a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or full battery-electric vehicle, we have a family of vehicles for them to consider, providing a range of options to best meet their needs and support their driving habits and lifestyles."

The Focus Electric is powered by a 100-kilowatt electric motor with a 23-kWh battery, that puts out a max 123 horsepower and 181 lb-ft. of torque. The Focus Electric has a top speed of 84 mph with a range of 100 miles on a single charge. According to Ford the Focus Electric can be charged with a new 240 volt charging that charges the car's battery in three-four hours, half the time of the Nissan Leaf.

The 2012 Focus Electric starts at 39,995 after the $795 destination fees, so after the maximum $7,500 federal tax credit the price for the Focus Electric drops to $32,495.

Continue reading "2012 Ford Focus Electric Gets 100 MPGe Rating" »

Hyundai i-oniq Concept Previews Hyundai's New Design Language

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Hyundai has released a teaser photo of its i-oniq concept car that is going to be unveiled a the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The i-oniq concept was designed at the automaker's European R&D center in Rüsselsheim, Germany and is a preview of the next evolution of Hyundai's "fluid sculpture" design language.

Thomas Bürkle, Hyundai's European Chief Designer had this to say about the i-oniq, "Two strong arched curves define the silhouette of i-oniq, creating a playful contrast between the sharp character lines and soft but muscular features."

Continue reading "Hyundai i-oniq Concept Previews Hyundai's New Design Language" »

Honda EV-STER Concept Brings a Sports Car Back to Honda's Lineup

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At this year's Tokyo Motor Show, Honda unveiled the EV-STER concept, an electric rear-wheel-drive two-seater convertible sports car. According to the latest reports the concept is headed to production.

Honda CEO Takanobu Ito recently spoke with Auto Motor und Sport, in which he revealed that the roadster could be launched with either electric or gasoline powertrains. The concept is powered by a 78 horsepower electric motor with lithium-ion batteries and has a range of 100 miles on a single charge.

According to the German magazine, the production version of the EV-STER could arrive as early as next year.

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Is this the 2013 Kia Forte?

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Kia has revamped most of it's lineup, but one model is still needs to adopt Kia's latest design language, the Forte sedan.The current Forte has been only on the market since 2009, but it looks like Kia is going to be redesigning it as early as the 2013 model year.

Kia World has uncovered design sketches of what appears to be the next-generation Forte sedan. If these sketches are accurate, the next Forte will borrow many of its design cues from the larger Optima.

If the rumors are true, the next Forte will debut sometime in 2012.

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2012 Honda CR-V Starts at $22,295

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Honda has finally announced the pricing for the all-new 2012 Honda CR-V, which starts at $22,295 for the CR-V LX 2WD.

Just in case you missed it, Honda unveiled the 2012 CR-V at the LA Auto Show last month. The overall styling isn't a huge departure from the current CR-V, but it is completely new and luckily Honda didn't mess it up like they did with the new Civic. The 2012 CR-V is powered by the same 2.4L four-cylinder engine that now packs 185 horsepower and 163 lb-ft. of torque. The four-cylinder is mated to a standard five-speed automatic and an all-new Real Time All-Wheel-Drive system is available. The new CR-V is more fuel efficient than before with a 23/31 mpg rating for the 2WD version and 22/30 mpg for the AWD CR-V.

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December 16, 2011

Nissan Bringing All-New Pathfinder and Electric Van Concepts to Detroit

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Nissan has announced that it's bringing two new concepts to the Detroit Auto Show next month.

The Pathfinder concept previews the all-new Pathfinder that will go on sale in the fall of 2012. The new Pathfinder is reportedly going to switch over to a crossover platform that it will share with the Infiniti JX.

Nissan is also going to show off a new electric van concept. This concept previews a future production version of a full electric vehicle designed to provide businesses or families with flexible, roomy cargo space, while offering a dramatic CO2 footprint reduction.

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December 18, 2011

2014 Chevy Impala to Share its Platform with the Cadillac XTS

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GM is hard at work on the next-generation 2014 Impala, which share its platform with the new 2013 Cadillac XTS.

The Impala will be offered in both front and all-wheel-drive configurations. The Impala will also be about the same size as the XTS. The latest spy photos reveal that the 2014 Impala will have a long nose with a front fascia that will be similar to the all-new Malibu.

The current generation Impala has been around since 1999, so the next Impala is definitely overdue. It will arrive in early 2013.

GM also recently announced that it will invest $68 million to to prepare the Oshawa Assembly Plant to build the next-generation Impala. In order to keep up with demand the Impala will be built at both the Oshawa Assembly Plant and the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant.

Continue reading "2014 Chevy Impala to Share its Platform with the Cadillac XTS" »

Volvo V40 Teaser Released Ahead of Geneva Debut

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Volvo is set to unveil the V40 five-door hatchback at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The Geneva Motor Show is still a few months away, but in the mean time Volvo has released this single teaser photo of the V40.

Little is known about the V40 other than the fact that it's a new five-door that will compete against models like the Audi A3 and Lexus CT 200h. The V40 is set to replace the S40 and V50 models in Volvo's lineup.

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December 19, 2011

2013 Chevy Sonic RS Officially Unveiled

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The turbocharged 2013 Chevy Sonic RS has been officially unveiled ahead of its debut next month in Detroit.

The Chevy Sonic RS adds more style and performance to Chevy's subcompact.

"The new Chevrolet Sonic RS pushes Chevrolet's performance heritage in a new direction, for a new generation of drivers," said Chris Perry, vice president of Global Chevrolet Marketing. "It takes the Sonic's great design and latest connectivity features and combines them with a more performance-oriented look and feel."

The Sonic RS is powered by a turbocharged 1.4L Ecotec engine that packs 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft. of torque. The turbocharged 1.4L doesn't get any power upgrades over the non-RS Sonic. The engine can be mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Unique gear ratios for the six-speed manual transmission and unique final drive ratio for the automatic give the Sonic RS a sportier feel than non-RS models.

Other changes that set the exterior of the Sonic RS apart from the non-RS models are a unique front and rear fascia, 17-inch wheels, a retuned sport exhaust and a lowered and stiffened suspension. The interior gets front sport seats, a sport steering wheel, aluminum pedals and the MyLink infotainment system.

The 2013 Sonic RS will only be offered in the five-door body style when it goes on sale in late 2012.

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Saab Officially Files for Bankruptcy, The End is Here

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It's being reported this morning that Saab has officially filed for bankruptcy protection in a Swedish district court. Saab's bankruptcy comes two years after GM announced that it was going to wind down the brand as part of its reorganization.

The past two years have been filed with non-stop ups and downs for Saab, but after many failed funding attempts it looks like the end is finally here. Saab production has been stalled since earlier this year when the automaker ran out of money to pay its creditors. Investment attempts from Chinese companies Pang Da and Youngman gave us hope that Saab would survive, but vetos from GM prevented any of those deals from ever happening.

After 64 years it's time to say goodbye to Saab.

Continue reading "Saab Officially Files for Bankruptcy, The End is Here" »

VIDEO: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL Debuts on YouTube

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Last week Mercedes-Benz officially dropped all the details on the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL and now three videos of the new SL have been released.

if you missed last week's announcement, the 2013 SL is now 300 pounds lighter than the current generation and gets styling that is similar to the SLS and smaller SLK. The SL550 is powered by a 4.6L V8 with 429 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque. The 2013 SL550 will hit U.S. showrooms this spring.

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Nissan Teases the Pathfinder Concept Ahead of Detroit Debut

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Nissan is going to be unveiling a new Pathfinder concept at the Detroit Auto Show next month. The concept is a preview of the all-new 2013 Pathfinder, which is expected to share its platform with the new Infiniti JX three-row crossover.

Nissan has given us a preview of the concept with the teaser photo that you see here and this little blurb:

"With thoughtful technology, comfortable seating for seven and ample cargo room, the 4-wheel drive Pathfinder Concept previews the next-gen production Pathfinder that is scheduled to go on sale next fall."

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Lexus Shows off the Interior of its New Concept

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Last week Lexus announced that it will be bringing a new concept car to the Detroit Auto Show. Lexus also released a single teaser photo that gave us a glimpse of the face of its new concept. Now Lexus has released the second teaser photo that shows off the interior of its newest concept.

According to Lexus, "The interior of this Lexus design concept hints at the new contemporary, upscale and uniquely Lexus design direction."

The Lexus concept, which looks like it will be a coupe, will be officially unveiled on Jan 9th.

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Ford Teases All-New Global Vehicle, Likely a Crossover Based on the Fiesta

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Ford has released a teaser photo of what it is referring to as an All-New Global Vehicle, which will debut at the Delhi Auto Expo next month.

There have been rumors and spy photos of a Fiesta based crossover, so this new "global vehicle" is most likely a crossover that will borrow its platform from the Fiesta.

Ford did not release any other details about the new vehicle other than stating:

"The new vehicle will be the latest One Ford global product, a vehicle designed to help expand Ford's footprint in the world's fastest-growing auto markets, including India. It will be the second of eight products Ford plans to bring to India by mid-decade."

There are reports that the new crossover will reportedly be dubbed the EcoSport.

Continue reading "Ford Teases All-New Global Vehicle, Likely a Crossover Based on the Fiesta" »

December 20, 2011

Toyota Advanced Plug-In Hybrid Concept and Prius c to Debut in Detroit

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Toyota has announced that it will debut a plug-in hybrid concept dubbed the NS4 and the Prius c hybrid at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

Toyota has released a single teaser photo of the NS4, which it is calling an "advanced plug-in hybrid concept."

The Toyota NS4 and Prius c will debut on January 10.

Continue reading "Toyota Advanced Plug-In Hybrid Concept and Prius c to Debut in Detroit" »

Honda's Reworked Civic to Arrive by End of 2012

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It's no secret that Honda screwed up with the redesigned Civic that came out earlier this year. Honda's CEO has even gone on record by taking the blame for the Civic's poor reception. It was previously reported that Honda was going to speed up the redesign of the Civic due to the negative feedback, but that new Civic wasn't expected until sometime in 2013. Now it looks like Honda has already sent its dealers a memo stating that the reworked Civic will arrive by the end of 2012.

Since the redesigned Civic is coming so soon, don't expect to see any big changes. The redesign will probably be similar to a standard mid-life refresh. Hopefully Honda will pay most of its attention on the interior.

According to the The Associated Press, American Honda President Tetsuo Iwamura stated that Honda is going to "improve the Civic's drivability." With that announcement we can expect to see some suspension upgrades as well, although Iwamura stopped short of providing any further details.

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Saab Cancels Warranties, New Saabs to be Sold "As-Is"

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Yesterday Saab officially filed for bankruptcy, officially ending a two year struggle for the brand to stay alive after GM announced it was killing the brand. Now that Saab is officially being liquidated more details are coming out about what current Saab owners can expect for the future of their beloved Saabs.

According to Saab North America spokeswoman Michele Tinson, warranties have "been indefinitely suspended for new sales and claims stopped for current" warranties. This means that any Saabs still on dealer lots will be sold as-is and current owners will see their warranties voided.

Although Saab officially filed for bankruptcy yesterday, Saab CEO Victor Muller hasn't given up hope that a new buyer will be found. "Even if this may look like the end, it doesn't necessarily have to be. It could be a new beginning and Saab could rise from the ashes like a phoenix," he said.

Continue reading "Saab Cancels Warranties, New Saabs to be Sold "As-Is"" »

December 21, 2011

Lexus LF-Lc Hybrid Concept Leaked Ahead of Detroit Debut

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Lexus has released two teaser photos of its upcoming hybrid concept that we're going to see in Detroit, but the guys over at Road & Track have leaked the first official photos of the new concept.

The new concept has been named the LF-Lc and according to Lexus it previews the future design direction of the brand. The overall look combines elements from the LFA supercar and the LF-Gh concept, which was a preview of the 2013 Lexus GS.

Stay tuned for the official unveiling on Jan 9th.

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2012 Tesla Model S Official Pricing and Specs Announced

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Tesla has announced the pricing for its much anticipated Model S sedan, which starts at $49,900 after the available $7,500 federal tax credit. For almost $50k you get the base Tesla Model S with its 40kWh battery 17" Touchscreen, 19" Wheels and a Universal Mobile Connector with three adapters that will allow you to charge at home and on the road. The Model S equipped with the 40 kWh battery only has an estimated range of 160 miles. Stepping up to the 60 kWh and 85 kWh versions will give you more range.

The Model S with the 60 kWh battery starts at $59,900 after the tax credits and has a range of 230 miles. It also reaches 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds compared to 6.5 seconds for the base model. The 85 kWh version has a range of 300 miles and a 0-60 mph time of 5.6 seconds. It starts at $69,900. As predicted Tesla is also going to offer a Model S Performance model that is powered by the 85 kWh battery, but reaches 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds and also gets a high performance drive inverter and exterior carbon fiber accents. The Model S Performance model is also available with a $5,000 package that includes a nappa leather interior with Alcantara accents, active air suspension with traction control and performance wheels and tires.

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Audi A1 Quattro Packs 256-HP, but it's Very Limited

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Audi has officially unveiled the most powerful A1 yet, the A1 Quattro.

The A1 Quattro is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder that packs 256 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system and a six-speed manual. According to Audi the A1 Quattro will reach 0-62 mph in 5.7 seconds and has a top speed of 152 mph.

The A1 Quattro uses a McPherson strut suspension in the front and a four-link axle at the rear. The electrohydraulic power steering has a 14.8:1 steering ratio and the ESP system includes a sport mode and can be switched off entirely for a trip to the race track. It rides on Glacier White 18-inch alloy wheels that feature an exclusive turbine design.

The A1 Quattro is only available in Glacier White metallic with a painted high-gloss black roof. It also gets a new front bumper with larger air intakes and the rear bumper is unique with dual tailpipes.

Unfortunately only 333 units are going to be produced and none of them are headed to the U.S.

Continue reading "Audi A1 Quattro Packs 256-HP, but it's Very Limited" »

Lexus Releases First Official Photo of the LF-LC Coupe Concept

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Following the recent photo leaks by Road & Track, Lexus has released the first official photo of the upcoming LF-LC concept that is going to be unveiled next month.

Lexus also released this statement about the concept:

"Crafted from a clean sheet of paper at the request of Lexus headquarters in Japan, the LF-LC blends both high technology and organic shapes to connect the driver to the machine," said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "The clean lines of the vehicle emphasize motion, creating a distinctive look for this futuristic sport coupe."

Continue reading "Lexus Releases First Official Photo of the LF-LC Coupe Concept" »

December 22, 2011

Honda Adds a Four-Cylinder to the 2012 Crosstour

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Honda has announced the introduction of two new four-cylinder, two-wheel-drive Crosstour models that are going on sale next month.

The four-cylinder equipped Crosstour is powered by a 2.4L four-cylinder that puts out 192 horsepower and 162 lb-ft. of torque. The four-cylinder is mated to a standard 5-speed automatic. The four-cylinder Crosstour models get 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, which is a slight jump from the 18/27 mpg rating of the two-wheel-drive V6 Crosstour.

New standard features on all Crosstour models includes an automatic dimming rearview mirror, a rearview mirror back-up camera display on non-navigation equipped models, auto-on/off headlights, Bluetooth and USB audio interface.

Continue reading "Honda Adds a Four-Cylinder to the 2012 Crosstour" »

2013 Lexus GS 350 Starts at $46,900

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Lexus has announced the pricing for the all-new 2013 Lexus GS 350, which starts at $46,900, the same price as the current model.

The 2013 GS 350 is powered by a 306 horsepower 3.5L V6 mated to a six-speed sequential shift automatic transmission comes with paddle shifters. It's available in both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. The all-wheel-drive GS 350 starts at $49,450.

Premium and Luxury packages are available in addition to the F-Sport package. The $1,400 Premium package includes rain-sensing wipers, heated and ventilated front seats and a power rear sunshade. The $5,750 Luxury Package includes the features from the Premium package, but also adds Adaptive Variable Suspension, an Adaptive Front Lighting System, semi-aniline leather, 18-way power front driver and passenger seats, rear HVAC and audio controls, rear manual side sunshades, 18-inch alloy wheels and a wood and leather steering wheel.

The F-Sport package adds a more aggressive appearance to the GS 3560 with a sport bumper, and rear lower valence, rear lip spoiler, unique mesh grille inserts and F-Sport badging. 19-inch wheels and an F-Sport tuned Adaptive Variable Suspension are part of the package that adds $5,690 to the base price of the GS 350.

The 2013 GS 350 will arrive in showrooms in early February.

Continue reading "2013 Lexus GS 350 Starts at $46,900" »

REVIEW: 2012 Honda Fit is "Fit" for the City

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Ever since the Honda Fit was introduced to the U.S. in 2006 the Fit has set the standard for subcompact cars. This year it was named to Car and Driver's 10-best list, for the sixth consecutive year. For the 2012 model year the Fit gets even better with the Sport models getting a slight exterior refresh and all models getting more standard equipment.

On the outside the 2012 Honda Fit Sport gets a new front grille and bumper, black headlight bezels and a dark "machined surface" finish alloy wheels. The non-Sport model makes due with the addition of body color mirrors and restyled wheel covers. On the inside the Fit is now quieter thanks to additional sound insulation and thicker front corner-window glass. New beverage holders and ambient lighting are also part of the updates to the 2012 Fit. The Fit Sport also gets steering wheel mounted audio controls and standard Bluetooth on the navigation equipped model.

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Cadillac Releases New Touring Package for the 2012 CTS

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Cadillac has announced the availability of a new touring package for the 2012 CTS. The touring package borrows performance elements of its V-series product line and is available on the CTS Sedan, Coupe and Wagon models, starting at $2,065.

The package includes Recaro seats, microfiber suede inserts on the seats and steering wheel, HID headlamps, a performance-tuned suspension, a V-series aerodynamic spoiler and performance wheel packages.

"One of the best aspects of high-performance machines like the V-Series is that they bring new elements into the brand that enrich the rest of the breed," said Cadillac Vice President of Marketing Don Butler. "The new Touring Packages give CTS buyers access to some desirable V-Series elements, in a more-approachable format."

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December 23, 2011

Next-Gen Chevy Camaro Coming for 2016

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According to the latest sources, the next-generation Chevy Camaro will debut in about three years for the 2016 model year.

GMI claims that its sources have confirmed that the next Camaro has already been added to GM's product plans as a 2016 model. It will also get a Gen V 6.2 liter V8 engine.

That's all we have for now, but lets hope the next Camaro is lighter with a higher quality interior.

Continue reading "Next-Gen Chevy Camaro Coming for 2016" »

2012 Honda Civic Si Nabs Consumer Reports' "Recommended" Rating

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The standard Honda Civic may no longer have a "recommended" rating from the Consumer Reports, but the sportier Si version recently earned the publications highest rating.

Consumer Reports now Recommends the Si version of the Civic due to the fact that the 201 horsepower engine "delivers terrific acceleration at high revs." CR likes the new engine better than the last Civic Si engine, since it now has more torque. The Si also managed to get 29 mpg overall.

Although the Civic Si now has a Recommended rating from CR, it still suffers from many of the same issues as the basic Civic models, such as vague steering, cheap plastics, a jittery ride, and lots of noise.

The latest reports claim that Honda is hard at work on an update for the Civic, which is reportedly going to arrive as early as the end of 2012.

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Kia May Produce Coupe and Wagon Versions of the GT

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This past fall, Kia unveiled the GT concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show, which featured a stylish four-door coupe design with a 390 horsepower 3.3L V6 and rear-wheel-drive. The concept is expected enter production sometime in 2013.

Now according to insiders that spoke with Inside Line, it looks like the four-door Kia GT could be joined by coupe and wagon versions. The unnamed sources claim that Kia sees the GT as a more affordable alternative to the Audi A5 Sportback and A7.

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December 25, 2011

Hennessey Unveils the 805-HP Twin-Turbo Jeep Grand Cherokee

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This year Ford created the EcoBoost concept sleigh for Santa Claus that is powered by a small 1.0L three-cylinder engine that is supposed to be greener than Santa's fleet of reindeers. Hennessey Performance (HPE) has also created a high-performance version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 that Hennessey has described as an 800 horsepower Twin Turbo sleigh.

HPE has taken the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 and turned it into quite the beast known as the HPE800 Twin Turbo. The standard 6.4L HEMI V8 has been bumped up to 7.0 liters with twin turbochargers. The result is 805 horsepower and 823 lb-ft. of torque. The HPE800 will reache 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds.

The HPE800 also gets an upgraded transmission, 15.1 inch Brembo brakes, a lowered suspension and a unique front fascia with a carbon fiber front splitter.

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December 26, 2011

2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Starts at $26,610

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Hyundai has announced the pricing for the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, which starts at $26,610 after the delivery fees. The 2012 model is only $55 more than the 2011.

The 2012 Sonata Hybrid looks just like the 2011 model, but for the new year it gets Hyundai's new Blue Link telematics system standard. A new optional Leather Package ($1,500) offers leather seating surfaces, leather steering wheel and shift knob, heated front and rear seats, and auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink. The Ultimate Package ($5,500) includes the Leather Package and adds a panoramic sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, navigation system, Infiniti audio system and a backup camera.

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December 27, 2011

R.I.P Dodge Caliber, Production has Ended

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Chrysler has reportedly ended production of the Dodge Caliber that originally went on sale in 2006 as a replacement for the Neon.

The Caliber never really caught on and was consistently ranked at the bottom of its class. In its 2011 annual car issue, Consumer Reports ranked the Caliber SXT at the bottom of its list of small hatchbacks and wagons.

Analyst Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics LLP stated, "It's the last of the American bottom-feeder compacts. That's what they were. It came from thinking, 'small cars, small profits."

Chrysler's replacement for the Caliber, the 2013 Dodge Dart is going to be unveiled next month in Detroit.

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Chrysler Announces 2012 Chrysler 300 Luxury Series

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Chrysler has announced the expansion of the Chrysler 300 lineup with the 300 Luxury Series.

"The new 2012 Chrysler 300 Luxury Edition is more than just our flagship car, it's the trophy for the tireless majority, an automobile designed and built to meet the most discerning of expectations," said Saad Chehab, President and CEO - Chrysler Brand, Chrysler Group LLC.

The Chrysler 300 and 300C Luxury Series sedans get black or Mochachino leather that covers everything from the seats to the instrument panel and interior door panels. The leather wrapped steering wheel also features a unique chrome accent ring to highlight the segment-exclusive 360-degree heated rim.

On the outside the Luxury Series sedans get 20-inch polished alloy wheels, and chrome accents on the fascia, mirrors and door handles. A platinum-chrome finished grille surround with platinum-chrome mesh grille tops off the changes.

The Chrysler 300 Luxury Series sedans are available either with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 thats mated to an eight-speed transmission or the 363-hp 5.7L Hemi V8.

The 2012 Chrysler 300 Luxury Series arrive in the first quarter of 2012, starting at $40,145.

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December 28, 2011

Buick Reveals More of the 2013 Encore on Facebook

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The 2013 Buick Encore crossover is set to debut on January 10th at the Detroit Auto Show, but Buick has been giving Facebook fans a sneak peak.

The official photo is divided into four panels, with this photo now revealing two of them. GM hasn't released any new details about the Encore. In a previous statement, GM stated that the "Encore will offer contemporary styling, signature QuietTuning technology, and a host of features and amenities customers expect from Buicks today."

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BMW 1 Series 3-Door Hatchback Design Patents Leaked

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This past summer BMW took the wraps off the all-new 1 Series 5-Door hatchback, but now we have our first unofficial look at the 3-door version of the hatchback.

The first leaked images of the 1 Series 3-door have leaked thanks to sohu.com. The 3-door looks pretty much the same as the 5-door version and should also be powered by the same 1.6L and 2.0L engines.

The 1 Series 3-door is expected to be released next summer.

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December 30, 2011

2013 Ford Fusion to Get Lane Keeping Assist System

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Ford is going to unveil the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion in January at the Detroit Auto Show. Ford has announced that the new Fusion will be available with a new Lane Keeping System that will alert and assist the driver when the car starts drifting out of a lane.

The new Lane Keeping System uses a digital camera mounted on the windshield ahead of the rearview mirror, allowing the Fusion to watch the road ahead to detect an unintentional lane departure. The Ford Lane Keeping System has three levels of assistance available to the driver depending on what is happening: Lane Keeping Alert, Lane Keeping Aid and Driver Alert.

"Fusion's Lane Keeping System combines a digital imaging sensor with our own state-of-the-art control software to process images and determine what level of warning or assistance to provide to the driver," said Michael Kane, Ford development engineer. "We've put a lot of effort into ensuring the accuracy of the lane detection and the smoothness of the assist."

The system only works when it is turned on by the driver and at speeds above 40 mph. The lane markers also must be clearly visible for the system to work.

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Ford's U.S. Sales Hit 2 Million, First time Since 2007

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Ford's U.S. sales have topped 2 million vehicles, which is the first time since 2007. The milestone makes Ford the best selling brand in America and the first automotive brand to hit the 2 million mark since 2007.

"Ford's lineup of high-quality, fuel-efficient cars, utilities and trucks continues to attract more and more new customers," said Erich Merkle, Ford's sales analysis manager. "With gasoline prices tracking higher than last year, customers continue to move toward smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, whether they are passenger cars or utilities."

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GM Responds to the Escalade's Most-Stolen Status with New Security Features

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The Cadillac Escalade currently sits at the top of the "most-stolen" vehicle list, which obviously isn't great publicity for the large SUV. GM is out to fix this with new security enhancements on the 2012 Escalade.

"The goal is to make the Escalade a very difficult target for thieves without any added inconvenience for customers," said Bill Biondo, General Motors' global leader for vehicle theft prevention. "The new systems work in the background and few people realize they are there, but they are strong added protections."

For 2012 the Escalade gets:

- PASS Key 3+, which is an encryption system for the key, key cylinder and ignition system. -A steering column-lock system that makes it nearly impossible to maneuver the Escalade onto a flatbed.
- An available inclination sensor that sets off an alarm when the system senses an unwarranted change of the angle of the vehicle, such as would occur with towing, flat-bedding or lifting the vehicle.
- An available shock sensor intended to reduce content theft and push-away theft by sounding the alarm when the vehicle is "shocked," such as by breaking window glass.
-An available new wheel lock system to help prevent the theft of Escalade's wheels and tires.

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Next Acura NSX to Pack 400 Horsepower?

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Honda has confirmed that a new NSX concept will debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. the NSX concept that we're going to see is supposed to be a preview of the next NSX.

It's also being reported that the next NSX will be powered by Honda's new electric SH-AWD hybrid system that will use a 3.5L V6 and a pair of electric motors. The setup in the NSX will be reversed with the V6 powering the rear wheels with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, while the electric motors will power the front wheels. The combined output is expected to be somewhere around 400 horsepower and the NSX will reach 0-60 mph in less than five seconds.

The next NSX will reportedly also be offered in both coupe and roadster variants.

Come back for all the coverage on Jan 9th.

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