May 2012 Archives

VW Unveils the Beetle Fender Edition

2013 VW Beetle Fender Edition
VW first unveiled the VW Beetle Fender Edition as a concept car last year at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, but now the production version has debuted at the Leipzig International Auto Show. As the name states, the VW Beetle Fender Edition packs a 9-speaker, 400-watt Fender sound system and a few other interior and exterior styling tweaks.

On the outside all Beetle Fender Edition models comes painted in Deep Black Metallic with brushed chrome exterior mirrors, 18-inch "Disc" aluminum-alloy wheels, Bi-Xenon headlights, and the Fender logo. Inside the painted dashboard features the quintessential sunburst color of Fender guitars, and the vehicle's interior is accented with color-contrasting seams that complement the dash's colors. Beetle Fender Edition vehicles equipped with the 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine will receive seats with exclusive fabric inserts.

Audi A3 e-tron
Audi recently announced the battery-electric Audi A3 e-tron pilot program in the US, which is part of its plan to officially launch its electric-powered A3. The Audi A3 e-tron pilot program is going to allow Audi to identify challenges and opportunities with plug-in electric vehicles as more buyers become increasingly receptive to the new EV technology. The A3 e-tron pilot program will take place in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Denver markets.

Another part of the global testing program of Audi's e-tron electric vehicle technology recently saw Audi put A3 e-trons into the hands of a team of Audi of America employees. By giving the e-tron prototypes to Audi's employees, Audi will be able to test the A3 e-tron in the real world. Audi has put together this first video, which is part of a series of videos "The A3 e-tron Pilot Project."

Mercedes-Benz Releases the Details About the 2013 GL63 AMG

2013 Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG
The new 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC, GL450 and GL550 models are set to arrive in U.S. dealerships in September 2012. Mercedes-Benz has just released the details about the top GL63 AMG that will arrive in the first quarter of 2013.

The AMG version of the GL is powered by a 5.5-liter V8 biturbo engine 550 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque. All that power is sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission that has three modes. The GL63 AMG accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, while the top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph. An ECO stop/start function also turns off the V8 at a standstill.

VW CEO Confirms Plans for a New Midsize SUV for the U.S.

2012 VW Tiguan
In the U.S. Volkswagen's SUV lineup only consists of the compact Tiguan and the larger Touareg, but it looks like there will soon be a new model to slot in between the two. Volkswagen of America CEO Jonathan Browning recently told reporters that the automaker is currently looking at the idea of adding a new SUV to its lineup. "There's a great opportunity for us for a mid-size SUV in the U.S." He also stated that a mid-sized SUV would complete VW's core portfolio.

The mid-sized SUV would fill the $20k price gap that currently exists between the Tiguan and Touareg. Browning did not provide any other details about when we will see the new SUV or even if it's currently in development.

2012 Lexus GX 460
The current Lexus GX three-row SUV is part of a dying breed, since it rides on a body-on-frame platform, while many of its competitors have switched to a unibody platform. We've now learned that the next GX may also make the switch, thanks to comments from Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager for Lexus. "There is a potential that at some point, when we replace the GX, we can have a car-based SUV."

According to Templin, Lexus has been studying a three-row unibody crossover, but due to the current success of the GX, the automaker decided to not mess with the current setup. "We were so successful with the GX, nobody wanted to lose the GX." The decision to retain the body-on-frame setup is in contrast to Lexus' competitors who have abandoned the traditional SUV, like Infiniti who recently launched the JX crossover that is based on the all-new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder, which has switched back to a unibody platform.

Fisker Has Sold 1,000 Karma Sedans Since December

2012 Fisker Karma
Fisker Automotive, the automaker that produces the $100k Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid, has announced that it has generated more than $100 million revenue in the first four months of this year. Fisker has also sold 1,000 Karma sedans in the U.S and Europe since December.

"We are encouraged by solid demand for the Karma," Tom LaSorda, Fisker's chief executive officer stated. "Pending completion of investment sourcing, we are poised to press ahead with further market expansion and development of our higher volume model, the Fisker Atlantic."

2014 Lexus GS Coupe to Arrive Next Year?

2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport
Speculation continues to brew about a possible coupe version of the new Lexus GS. Inside Line is now reporting that Lexus will add a new performance oriented coupe to its lineup sometime next year.

The new coupe, which will be a 2014 model, will be a two-door version of the Lexus GS that will attempt to fill spot left by the departed SC 430 coupe that left the Lexus lineup in 2010. A GS coupe will also give Lexus a competitor to models like the BMW 6 Series, Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe. Initially the GS coupe could show up as with a GS F badge, meaning that it will be packing a V8 engine, but you can expect it to also eventually offer V6 engines to broaden its appeal.

Ford Announces Five-City Focus ST Performance Academy

2013 Ford Focus ST
Ford Focus fans have been eagerly awaiting the high-performance 2013 Ford Focus ST with its 252 horsepower 2.0L turbocharged engine and six-speed manual transmission. Now Focus ST fans have something else to be excited, since Ford has just announced the Five-City Focus ST Performance Academy.

The five-city U.S. event will give fans the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the new Ford Focus ST on a course with professional instruction and timed autocross hot laps. The first event takes place in New York on June 30th, with dates planned for Washington, D.C.; Boston; San Francisco and Los Angeles this summer.

Porsche 911 Club Coupe Celebrates 60 Years of Porsche Clubs

Porsche 911 Club Coupe
Porsche has announced the new 911 Club Coupe that celebrates the 60th anniversary of the first two Porsche clubs. The first Porsche club was founded in 1952, four years after the first Porsche was built. A group of seven Porsche drivers founded the Westfälischer Porsche Club Hohensyburg, now known as the Porsche Club Westfalen e. V., on 26 May 1952. That same year saw the formation of a second Porsche Club with six members initially - the Porsche Club Berlin e. V.

Today there are now 640 official Porsche clubs in 75 countries with a total of 181,000 members. Porsche has created the 911 Club Coupe, which pays tribute to the 13 founding Porsche Club members. The 911 Club Coupe is based on the 911 Carrera S, which packs 430 horsepower, 30 more than the Carrera S. Thanks to the extra power, the 911 Clube Coupe reaches 0-62 mph in 4.0 seconds.

Chrysler Says Goodbye to the Town & Country and Jeep Compass

2012 Jeep Compass
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has revealed that the Chrysler Town & Country minivan and Jeep Compass crossover will be dropped in 2014. Marchionne wants to eliminate any product overlaps in the Chrysler Group lineup. The Chrysler Town & Country is the Dodge Caravan's twin and the Jeep Compass shares its platform with the Jeep Patriot.

The announcement means that Chrysler will only have one minivan, since the Town & Country will be replaced by a new crossover, which may keep the same name when it is introduced in 2014. The Jeep Compass will be produced alongside the new Dodge Dart until August 2014.

Refreshed 2013 Toyota Venza Starts at $27,700

2013 Toyota Venza
Toyota has announced the pricing for the refreshed 2013 Toyota Venza, which starts at $27,700 for the base four-cylinder Venza LE. For the 2013 model year the Venza gets an updated exterior with a new upper and lower grille, fog lamps, rear taillights and new 19-inch wheels.

The 2013 Venza is also available in three new colors Attitude Black, Cypress Pearl, and Cosmic Gray Mica. The 2013 Venza is available in LE, XLE and Limited grades. The LE and XLE models are available with all powertrain combinations: a 181-hp 2.7L four-cylinder or a 268-hp 3.5L V6, the Venza Limited is powered by the V6 engine only. Both engines are mated to a standard six-speed automatic and buyers can choose between front or all-wheel-drive.

BMW Zagato Coupe
Zagato and BMW have teamed up to create the BMW Zagato Coupe that will debut at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. The BMW Zagato Coupe is described as a "BMW seen through the eyes of Zagato." The road ready coupe takes hallmark design cues from both companies merging to form an emotion-laden coupé in the best Zagato tradition.

The brief for the car was clear from the outset: the BMW Zagato Coupé was to be a "Vmax concept", a road-registered, aerodynamically optimised machine capable of achieving high speeds yet at the same time meeting all legal requirements and crash-related stipulations - a car that is ready and eager to be driven.

2013 Nissan Altima
Nissan is introducing a new "Easy Fill Tire Alert" system on its 2013 Altima, which takes the mandated tire pressure monitoring system one step further. All new cars are required to come with a standard tire pressure monitoring system to alert drivers when their car has an underinflated tire. The new Nissan system not only alerts drivers to when their tires are low, but also makes it much easier for them to fill their tires.

When the tire-pressure warning system alerts a driver to a low tire, a display shows the pressure and the relevant tire or tires. Then the driver should drop into a nearby gas station and grab the air hose. As the driver fills the tire, the car's four-way flashers come on to confirm that air is going in. When the tire is full, the horn chirps to let the driver know the process is complete. If the driver puts in too much air, the flashers blink faster and the horn beeps three times. The horn chirps again after enough air is let out to reach proper inflation.

2013 BMW 7 Series Gets a Facelift and More Efficient Engines

2013 BMW 7 Series BMW is giving its flagship sedan, the 2013 7 Series a facelift. The updates to the 2013 7 Series include powertrain upgrades for the 740i/Li and 750i/Li models, in addition to a new powertrain for the ActiveHybrid 7. The exterior also gets a few tweaks and the interior gets a redesigned iDrive system.

The top 7 Series is still the 760Li with its Twin Turbo V12, which does not get any engine updates for the new model year. Both the six-cylinder 740i/Li and the V8-powered 750i/Li models get upgrades that give both models better performance and greater efficiency. The six-cylinder engine in the 740i/Li has been upgraded to the latest 3.0L TwinPower Turbo (N55) engine. It packs 315 horsepower and 330 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a 8-speed automatic transmission and buyers can choose the optional xDrive all-wheel-drive system. According to BMW, the 2013 740i/Li is 20 percent more efficient on the EU test cycle.

Techno Musicians Use the 2013 Ford Fusion to Make Music

Ford has announced that Detroit-area Techno artists Joshua Harrison, Keith Kemp and Tom Newman recently sampled sounds from the 2013 Ford Fusion - both natural noises like windows going up and down, and digital creations from the car's sound bank like the welcome chimes - to make original electronic music. They recorded everything from doors slamming to the soft back-and-forth of the windshield wipers.

Each artist then took the sounds they recorded and combined them with a sound bank of Fusion chimes and tones to create an original song. Each Fusion musician, provided by Paxahau - organizers of the Movement Electronic Music Festival - produced a unique song that transformed the everyday sounds of the car into a work of art. The trunk slam was looped to mimic the iconic kick-drum popular in Detroit Techno, the strong hum of the 2.0-liter hybrid engine is used as an overtone that wails with meditative resonance and the seat belt reminder plays as a melodic syncopation.

Subaru Tribeca Crossover Will be Done by the End of the Year?

According to a source that spoke with Motor Trend, Subaru's Tribeca crossover is set to be cancelled by the end of 2012. The Tribeca was originally named the B9 Tribeca when it was first released in 2005. Seven years later the crossover has gone through a name change, received a facelift and a more powerful six-cylinder engine, but sales are largely non-existent. Subaru only managed to sell 2,791 units last year, which is down from the 10,975 units sold in 2008.

Even though the Tribeca is largely ignored, a Subaru spokesman stated, "No, Tribeca is not dead, and will be on sale for the 2013 model year." The spokesman would not confirm with Motor Trend if the Tribeca would live past 2013.

Toyota Unveils the 2013 Camry That's Ready for NASCAR

Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) have officially unveiled the 2013 Toyota Camry that wil compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The introduction of the new 2013 Camry for NASCAR competition marked the culmination of an aggressive redesign to provide the 2013 Camry with an updated and more-unique identity. TRD worked together with Calty Design, part of Toyota's global network design team, to create an on-track Camry that incorporates design elements which give America's best-selling car its distinct character.

REVIEW: 2012 Kia Rio 5-Door SX Grabs Your Attention

You can forget almost everything that you remember about the first two generations of the Kia Rio. The latest all-new Rio subcompact is stylish, chocked full of cool features and gets up to 40 mpg on the highway. Kia gave us the keys to the all-new third-generation 2012 Rio 5-Door SX for the weekend. Normally most people would never think about taking a Kia to The Hamptons for the weekend, but thanks to its stylish and sporty exterior, this Rio did not scream "economy car" like the first generation.

The all-new 2012 Rio is offered in both five-door and sedan versions. On the outside the Rio's styling stands out compared to more conservatively styled competitors like the Nissan Versa. The five-door hatchback is not only the sportier looking of the two Rio models, but should also be the wiser choice if you live in the city. Its shorter overall length makes it easier to parallel park and the rear hatch makes it easier to throw all of your stuff in the back. Our Rio SX came standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust tips and LED lighting.

Toyota Has Sold Four Million Hybrids Worldwide

Toyota has announced that its global hybrid vehicle sales have totaled four million units through April 2012. Toyota's first hybrid, the Prius went on sale in Japan in 1997 and in the U.S. in 2000. 15 years later, Toyota now sells 18 hybrid models in 80 countries and regions around the world. So far this year hybrids account for 15 percent of Toyota's global vehicle sales.

In the U.S. alone Toyota has sold 1.5 million hybrids, which accounts for 65 percent of all hybrid vehicles sold in the region. The Prius, which now consists of four models, comprises half of all hybrids on the road in the U.S. with sales totaling 1.2 million units through April 2012.

Tesla Model S Deliveries to Start on June 22nd

Tesla has announced that the first Model S deliveries will kick off on June 22nd, which is ahead of the original July timeframe. "In 2006 our plan was to build an electric sports car followed by an affordable electric sedan, and reduce our dependence on oil," said Elon Musk, Tesla Motors CEO and Chief Product Architect. "Delivering Model S is a key part of that plan and represents Tesla's transition to a mass-production automaker and the most compelling car company of the 21st century."

Several customers will receive their cars that day at an invitation-only event at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California. Model S test-drive events will begin rolling out to select North American cities in July. Tesla will be ramping up production throughout 2012 and plans to deliver 5,000 vehicles by year end. Reservations for the premium electric sedan currently exceed 10,000.

Mazda and Fiat, Alfa Romeo's parent company have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development and manufacturing of a new roadster for the Mazda and Alfa Romeo brands based on Mazda's next-generation MX-5 rear-wheel-drive architecture.

Mazda and Fiat will develop two roadsters that will share the same basic platform, but their styling will be different. The Mazda and Alfa Romeo roadsters will each be powered by specific engines unique to each brand. Both roadsters will be built at Mazda's Hiroshima, Japan plant starting in 2015.

Next-Gen BMW M3 to Bring Back the Inline Six-Cylinder Engine

It is now being confirmed that the next-generation BMW M3 will be ditch the current V8 engine in favor of an inline six-cylinder engine. The news comes from F30Post, who reportedly spoke with the President of BMW North America, Mr. Ludwig Willisch, who confirmed the news.

According to Willisch, BMW was reportedly mulling a V6 engine, but has decided to go with the inline six-cylinder. Now we have to see how many turbos the six-cylinder engine will have, but either way you can expect the new engine to pack more horsepower than the current M3 engine. Expect it to have around 450 horsepower. It will also be more fuel efficient when it debuts at the end of 2013.

Here are More Photos of the 2013 Cadillac XTS

GM has released a batch of new photos of the 2013 Cadillac XTS that starts at $44,995. The 2013 Cadillac XTS is powered by a 300-hp 3.6L V6 that is mated to a six-speed automatic. Front-wheel-drive is standard, but all-wheel-drive is optional.

The 2013 XTS will be offered in three trim levels: Luxury, Premium and Platinum.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given the 2012 BMW 3 Series and 2013 Acura RDX its top award after receiving top scores in front, side, rollover and rear crash safety tests.

In order to earn "Top Safety Pick", a car must receive a rating of "good", the Institute's highest rating, in all of four tests - 40 mph frontal offset impact, side impact, rear impact protection/head restraint and rollover protection - and must be equipped an electronic stability control system.

Franca Sozzani, chief editor of Italian VOGUE, has designed and presented her very own MINI model exclusively to mark the 20th anniversary of the Life Ball charity event. Sozzani designed a special one-off MINI Roadster that was auctioned off at the AIDS Solidarity Gala and raised a donation total of 54,000 euros for HIV projects.

Sozzani decorated the MINI Roadster in an intricate floral design, which in combination with very "of the moment" Deepest Purple matte paintwork and gold hallmark MINI rally stripes, produced an impressively complete work of art. Inside the car, lavishly printed leather for the instruments and brass-coloured touches on the circular elements add the icing on the cake.

2013 MINI John Cooper Works Lineup Gets a New Engine

MINI has announced that its John Cooper Works models are getting a new engine for the 2013 model year. Although the new 1.6L engine puts out the same 208 horsepower and 192 lb-ft. of torque as the outgoing engine, it is more fuel efficient and has reduced emissions.

The new turbocharged 1.6L engine is more efficient thanks to its aluminum block and bearing mounts, reinforced pistons and high-strength cylinder head and low-weight camshafts. The exhaust valves are also sodium-filled to help provide the extra cooling required by a turbocharged engine, and the intake camshaft features infinite phase adjustment. The engine produces its maximum output of 208 hp at 6,000 rpm, while peak torque of 192 lb-ft. is on tap between 1,850 and 5,600 rpm. The overboost function allows this figure to be raised to 207 lb-ft for a short time between 2,000 and 5,200 rpm.

The 1.6L engine is mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission, but buyers can also choose a six-speed automatic transmission with Steptronic function.

2013 Nissan Altima: Nissan Releases More Photos

Production of the all-new 2013 Nissan Altima officially kicked off this week at Nissan's plant in Tennessee. Now Nissan has released a whole new set of photos of the new Altima that will start arriving at dealerships next month.

The 2013 Nissan Altima starts at $21,500 and is available either a 182 horsepower 2.5L four-cylinder or a 270 horsepower 3.5L V6. The Altima is only available with a CVT transmission. The good news is that the four-cylinder gets up to 38 mpg on the highway.

2013 Range Rover Sport Gets a Few Updates

Land Rover is giving the 2013 Range Rover Sport a few updates for the new model year, but you probably won't really notice them. The 2013 Range Rover Sport gets new five-spoke alloy wheels, new body colors and new interior trim combinations.

Buyers can choose between five new body colors: Barolo, Barossa, Causeway, Havana and Mariana. On the inside there are two new interior trim combinations that allow buyers to choose a dark upper cabin with lighter colored seats or the opposite way around. There's also a new carbon veneer pack for the interior. The Range Rover Sport Supercharged model also gets new Red Brembo brake calipers.

GM Claims Chevy Volt Owners Have Saved a Supertanker of Gas

According to GM, Chevy Volt owners have collectively saved a supertanker of gas since the Volt went on sale. Volt owners have compiled 40 million miles on electricity and at the same time avoiding the use of more than 2.1 million gallons of gas.

"With each click of the odometer, Chevy Volt owners are measuring their contribution to reducing America's dependence on foreign oil and to preserving the environment," said Cristi Landy, Chevy Volt marketing director. "Volt owners are also saving at the fuel pump with more than $8 million in combined savings."

Lexus Kills the HS 250h Hybrid

This isn't too surprising since it was already reported that the Lexus HS 250h hybrid sedan wasn't exactly flying out of showrooms, but it's now confirmed that the HS 250h is dead. Inside Line has confirmed with Toyota that production of the HS 250h has already ended.

"Production of the HS 250h ceased in January, 2012. Lexus continues to monitor sales for each product and we make adjustments to make sure that we meet market demand, and the discontinuation of HS was part of that adjustment. The ES 300h is not replacing HS in our lineup. It's merely part of the hybridization of many of our existing vehicles in the Toyota and Lexus lineups."

2013 Chevy SS - NASCAR.jpg
After a lot of speculation and rumors, GM has officially announced that the Australian Holden Commodore is going to be offered in the U.S. as the 2014 Chevy SS. This marks the return of a V8 rear-wheel-drive sedan Chevy's U.S. lineup, after 17 years. The 2014 Chevy SS will hit showrooms in late 2013.

The 2013 Chevy SS will be a derivative of the global rear-wheel-drive architecture that is the basis for performance vehicles like Chevy Camaro and Holden's upcoming VF Commodore. The Chevy SS will be built in Australia and "will benefit from significant technology advances which enhance overall performance." GM hasn't announced any official specs.

Fisker gave us a preview of its next model, the Atlantic plug-in hybrid sedan at the 2012 New York Auto Show. At the time it was unveiled, Fisker stated that a production model was a ways off and that the acutal specs and pricing would be released closer to the launch of the production car. Now leaked investor documents have given us more information about the Atlantic. has reportedly received some Fisker documents that were only dated a few weeks ago. The documents outline more of Fisker's plans for the Atlantic, including performance specs, cost and release dates.

2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Starts at $25,995

Ford dealers are starting to place orders for the 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid, which Ford has dubbed "America's most affordable and fuel-efficient utility vehicle." The 2013 C-MAX Hybrid arrives this fall with a base price of $25,995, which makes it around $500 cheaper than the Toyota Prius v.

"C-MAX Hybrid offers better fuel economy, performance, technology and functionality than Prius v - and C-MAX Hybrid customers will pay less at the dealership and at the pump," said Ken Czubay, vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. "Ford is delivering the power of choice for leading fuel economy across its lineup - from EcoBoost to electrified vehicles - because customers increasingly want to save money at the pump, even as gas prices rise over time."

Ford is set to replace 26 percent of its lineup between 2013 and 2016 according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report. Ford will lead the industry by introducing the most new or refreshed vehicles in the U.S. during the period. The annual "Car Wars" report predicts that GM will replace 25 percent of its lineup, while Toyota will replace 24 percent and Nissan will match the industry average at 23 percent.

New models are picking up from the "lull" during the last three years. The Bank of America report predicts that most new introductions will be in the crossover, luxury-car and light-truck segments. Chrysler and Honda will trail the segment by with replacement rates of 20 percent.

2012 Hyundai Azera Named IIHS Top Safety Pick

The all-new 2012 Hyundai Azera has achieved the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) highest honor as a Top Safety Pick. In order to be labeled as a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle has to receive a "good" rating, the highest rating possible in front, side, rollover and rear crash tests.

"Having a great recipe of safety equipment baked into the all-new Azera put it on the top pick list," said Scott Margason, director, product planning, Hyundai Motor America. "The Azera takes ESC and seating to the next level, by adding the ability to automatically counter steer the car from pulling too much in one direction and further reduce head and neck injuries through an impact reducing seat structure."

2013 Nissan Altima Production Begins in Tennessee

Nissan has officially kicked off production of the all-new 2013 Nissan Altima at its Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant in Tennessee. It's been 20 years since the first Nissan Altima rolled off the line in Smyrna and 4.4 million Altimas later, the fifth generation is here.

"The Nissan Altima ranks among the country's top-selling cars and best-known nameplates," said Bill Krueger, vice chairman, Nissan Americas. "This generation is not only the most innovative Altima ever, it also becomes the benchmark for quality in the midsize car segment. And there's no better plant to rise to the challenge than our top-quality manufacturing operations in Smyrna."

2013 BMW 135is Packs 320-HP and Starts at $44,145

BMW has unveiled a new "enhanced performance" version of the 2013 1 Series, the 2013 BMW 135is. The 2013 BMW 135is coupe and convertible will now be the top versions of the 1 Series, since the 1 Series M coupe is already gone.

The 135is is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0L six-cylinder (N55) engine with 320 horsepower and 317 lb-ft. of torque. Even with the extra power over the 135i, BMW claims that the 135is will maintain the same emissions level and MPG ratings as the lesser powered 135i. The 135is also gets a performance exhaust system and the engine gets an upgraded cooling system. Buyers can choose between a 6-speed manual or 7-speed double clutch transmission.

Porsche 918 Spyder_prototype_4.jpg
Porsche's 918 Spyder hybrid is slated to arrive by the end of 2013, but Porsche has been kind enough to release a few of the details now. Prototypes of the hybrid super car are currently being tested with camouflage harking back to historical Porsche 917 racing cars, that signal the final touches to the 918 Spyder.

The 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid is powered by a V8 engine and two electric motors, which will put out more than 770 horsepower according to Porsche. The 4.6-liter V-8 engine is expected to put out around 570 horsepower and sends its power to the rear wheels. One electric motor also sends its power to the back, while another electric motor sends power to the front of the 918 Spyder. Although the hybrid system will put out more than 770 horsepower, Porsche estimates that the 918 Spyder's fuel consumption in the region of three litres per 100 kilometers (78 MPG U.S) The 918 Spyder will also have an electric-only range of 15 miles, reach 0-60 mph in under 3.0 seconds and have a top speed over 200 mph.

Acura Shows Off the NSX Concept in Red

Beijing Motor Show Acura NSX Concept 01.jpg
Acura gave us our first look at the NSX concept at the Detroit Auto Show in January. The concept was originally shown off in a light charcoal, now here are new photos of the NSX Concept in red.

in case you need a refresher, the NSX concept is a preview of the next-generation NSX that will arrive within the next three years. The NSX concept features Acura's new Sport Hybrid SH-AWD hybrid system. The system uses a two electric motor drive unit up front that can instantly send negative or positive torque to the front wheels during cornering. The next-generation VTEC V6 engine features direct-injection and is mated to a dual clutch transmission with built-in electric motor that sends its power to the rear wheels.

Audi Q3 Red Track Debuts at the Wörthersee Tour

Audi is going to unveil a new version of the Audi Q3 crossover at the Wörthersee Tour. The Audi Q3 Red Track is powered by a 2.5L five-cylinder TFSI engine with direct injection and turbocharging that generates an output of 340 hp 332 lb-ft. of torque. The power of the turbocharged five-cylinder unit is transferred to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system via a seven-speed S tronic transmission. The Audi Q3 red track accelerates from 0-62 mph in 5.4 seconds and continues to a top speed of 163 mph.

On the outside the Q3 Red Track is painted in Energy Red paint that contains golden pearlescent particles. Its add-on body parts are in matte gray quartz-based paint. Eye catching features on the sides of the Q3 Red Track are the flared wheel arches and the running boards, which Audi is to incorporate into the extensive range of Q3 accessories. The newly styled aluminum roof rails are specially designed for transporting skis. The Q3 Red Track also rides on 20 inch wheels with off-road tires. It's track has also been increased by 1.57 inches and the body is 1.18 inches higher compared to the other Q3 models.

Next-Generation 2014 Infiniti G37 to Arrive Next Spring

The guys over at Inside Line recently spoke with Andy Palmer, executive vice president of Nissan and Infiniti's Global Business Unit, who confirmed that the next-generation G37 will arrive in the spring of 2013.

Palmer did not provide many other details about the new G37, but it is possible that it could eventually get a four-cylinder in place of the V6 in the base G. Nissan's new partnership with Mercedes-Benz has confirmed plans for Nissan to build four-cylinder engines for the next Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but it's also highly possible that this engine could also find its way under the hood of a G model.

Chevy to Add New Trax Small SUV to its Global Lineup

Chevy is set to introduce a new small SUV to its global lineup by the end of this year. The all-new Chevy Trax small SUV is going to debut at the Paris Motor Show in September. GM states that the five-passenger Trax will offer class-leading interior space and be offered in over 140 markets. Mexico and Canada will be the first markets to launch the small SUV in the fourth quarter of this year. Unfortunately because of the strong position of the Equinox, there are no plans to introduce the Trax in the U.S. market.

BMW M135i Officially Unveiled in 3 and 5-Door Versions

BMW has officially taken the wraps off the M version of the 1 Series hatchback in Europe. The M135i was previewed in concept form at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The production version is powered by a turbocharged 3.0L six-cylinder engine with 320 horsepower. This is the first time a BMW M Performance model has been powered by a gas engine.

Buyers in Europe will be able to choose between either three or five door bodystyles, which feature an M suspension and body kit. The 3.0L engine can be mated to either a standard six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. The manual equipped M135i should reach 0-62 mph in 5.1 seconds, while the eight-speed version is a few ticks faster at 4.9 seconds.

2013 BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon Officially Unveiled

Here's the first official photos and info about the all-new 2013 BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon, that will be sold in the U.S. The 3 Series Sport Wagon is slightly larger than its predecessor with a wider track and longer overall length and wheelbase. Most of the added length benefits the rear seat passengers, which now have more space to stretch out than before. Cargo volume has also been increased by 10 percent.

The 2013 BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon will launch in Europe later this year and will arrive in U.S. showrooms in spring 2013. Inside the rear seat can be folded down in three sections in a 40:20:40 split. A net as well as an additional strap along the right side panel can be used to help secure cargo and a net along the left-hand panel will also be available. A storage tray under the load compartment floor and a deep stowage compartment on the left-hand side of the cargo area can accommodate smaller items. The luggage compartment cover can also be stowed away under the load compartment floor, allowing it to be kept in the car even when not in use and a separate partition net helps keep things in place when the rear seats are folded down.

Mini has unveiled the fastest production Mini ever, the John Cooper Works GP. The John Cooper Works GP recently lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 8 minutes and 23 seconds, a full 19 seconds quicker than the the lap time set by its predecessor, the Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit.

Underpinning the performance characteristics of the Mini John Cooper Works GP is exclusive powertrain, chassis and aerodynamics technology inspired directly by motorsport. Mini hasn't announced the final horsepower figures, but it wil pack more than the 214 horsepower that the previous model had. It also gets an adjustable race suspension. On the outside the Mini John Cooper Works GP gets large front and rear aprons, side skirts, a bespoke roof spoiler and a newly developed rear diffuser which optimizes airflow around the underbody. The rear seats have also been removed to save weight.

Porsche is reportedly working on a new sedan that will be smaller than the current Panamera. It will be released by 2017 and go head to head with models like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series.

Internally the new sedan is code-named Pajun and according to Auto Bild the new sedan will cost between 65,000 euros and 100,000 euros.

Nissan and Mercedes-Benz_Groundbreaking.jpg
The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler partnership reached a milestone today when Tennessee officials joined Nissan leadership to break ground on a new manufacturing facility in Decherd, Tenn. The new facility, which is located at the existing Nissan powertrain assembly complex - will produce Mercedes-Benz 4-cyl. gasoline engines for Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz models.

"Today, we begin an exciting new chapter for the Renault-Nissan Alliance and our continued investment in the United States," Swenson said. "Today's groundbreaking marks the latest move in our collaboration with Daimler to localize production capacity and enhance our competitiveness in the global market."

GM has reportedly filed for the trademark of the Riviera name, which has fueled more speculation that GM could apply the name to a future Buick model. The Riviera name is obviously not new, but the last time that we saw it used was for the 2007 Buick Riviera concept that debuted in China.

It's not known if GM is simply just filed for the trademark, but doesn't have any plans to actually use it. Many automakers will trademark many names, but not actually use them, like Ford who trademarked a series of "MK" names for the Lincoln brand.

2013 Cadillac XTS Comes with an Apple iPad

When the 2013 Cadillac XTS is released later this spring, buyers will receive an iPad with their new Cadillac. GM has announced that each Cadillac XTS buyer will get an iPad with their new car as part of the customer experience. The iPad helps buyers get the most out of the Cadillac User Experience (CUE), the in-vehicle system to access entertainment and information.

"CUE is intuitive, bringing touch and voice controls into the car in really unique and helpful way," said Don Butler, U.S. vice president of Cadillac marketing. "With CUE becoming a signature feature of Cadillac, and with the launch of the XTS luxury sedan, this is an opportunity for us to build a new level into the luxury customer experience."

Automotive News is reporting that Lexus is trying to separate itself from Toyota as it tries to come up with a new strategy that will give BMW and Mercedes-Benz owners a reason to switch. To conquer BMW and Mercedes drivers, we can't just be looked at as an upgraded version of Toyota," said Kiyotaka Ise, who took the helm of Lexus in 2007. "We want our brand to be chosen for its character and handling."

Toyota has a whole has decided to finally add more emotion into its models with what it calls "emotional designs." "Lexus is leading the way in how the entire Toyota Motor Corporation should operate," Toyota President Akio Toyoda said at the world premier of the GS in August last year at Pebble Beach, Calif. The first step to revamp the Lexus brand and to separate it more from Toyota was the separation of Lexus engineers and designers from their Toyota peers, four years ago. The group then settled on the hourglass-like spindle grill as the common design element of all new Lexus models.

We've yet to officially see the 2013 Honda Accord other than the Accord Coupe Concept that was unveiled earlier this year. The all-new 2013 Accord is slated to arrive this fall, but a leaked dealer order sheet gives away a few more details. The 2013 Accord equipped with the 2.4L four-cylinder engine can be order with either a CVT transmission or six-speed manual. Unlike Hyundai, Chevy and Ford, Honda's midsize sedan will continue to be offered with a six-cylinder engine. The 2013 Accord V6 sedan only comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, but the Accord V6 Coupe gets either a six-speed manual or automatic.

The order sheet also reveals that Honda will offer "sport" and "touring" trim levels on the Accord sedan.

2014 Scion FR-S Convertible Confirmed?

The guys over at Car and Driver have apparently received word that a convertible version of the 2013 Scion FR-S/ Toyota GT-86 coupe has been given the green light. The FR-S convertible is expected for the 2014 model year and will have retain the rear seats and 200-hp 2.0L boxer engine from the coupe.

The convertible will be built on the same platform as the Toyota/ Subaru coupe. Product planners are also reportedly working on other possible models that could share the same platform. The rear-wheel-drive platform could be used as the basis for a small four-door sedan or a larger coupe.

VW is Reportedly Planning a New Small SUV Based on the Up!

VW is reportedly planning on adding two new small SUVs to its lineup that will sit below the current Tiguan in VW's lineup. According to German business publication Handelsblatt, VW plans on growing its lineup of compact SUVs due to the segment's immense growth.

A VW spokesman stated, "We look at everything. SUVs are very interesting. Our modular design allows more cutting. But is still no decision." One of those models could be a new SUV based on the Up. Last year the Buggy Up concept that was based on the Up minicar was very popular on the auto show circuit.

Next-Gen BMW Z4 to Become Sportier

According to BMW insiders the next-generation BMW Z4 roadster will be sportier than the current model and those that have preceded it. The next Z4 is due around 2015 and will reportedly be more agile and sportier to drive.

On the outside BMW's designers plan on shortening the hood a bit, but it won't be a significant change, since U.S. buyers like the current Z4's long hood look. Overall the styling of the next Z4 will be designed to be more timeless, since BMW's new design policy dictates that its models need to look good for up to 15 years.

The handling of the next Z4 will also be improved thanks to the better weight distribution that the downsized four-cylinder N20 engine provides.

The First 2013 Dodge Dart Rolls off the Line

The first 2013 Dodge Dart has rolled off the production line at Chrysler's Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois. The 2013 Dart borrows its platform from Alfa Romeo and will be available with 12 exterior colors, 14 interior color and trim options, three engines and three transmission choices. The 2013 Dart starts at $15,995.

The first vehicle off the line was a red Dodge Dart Rallye with a black and red interior, powered by a 1.4-liter engine with manual transmission.

2013 Cadillac ATS Starts at $33,990

GM has announced the pricing for the all-new 2013 Cadillac ATS compact sedan. When equipped with the 200-hp 2.5L four-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission, the 2013 ATS starts at $33,990.

"The ATS enters a vehicle segment this year that's one of the most competitive in the market, from both a price and performance standpoint," said Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac Marketing. "ATS will bring a distinctive presence and compelling value while offering quick, nimble, fun-to-drive dynamics that will appeal to the lifestyles of modern luxury buyers and challenge the segment's status quo."


Toyota has taken the wraps off the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV at the 26th annual Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles. The RAV4 EV is the result of the collaboration between Toyota and Tesla. Toyota claims that the all-electric RAV4 EV's driving performance, dynamics and cargo capacity are equal to or exceed the gas powered RAV4 V6. It also has an expected driving range of approximately 100 miles and can be recharged in as little as six hours using a 240V charger.

"It's all about blending the best of two worlds," said Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota division. "The all-new RAV4 EV marries the efficiency of an EV with the versatility of a small SUV - in fact, it is the only all-electric SUV on the market."

Project VisioM.jpg
The current electric cars are heavy and too expensive, which prevents them from being a true alternative to conventional cars. BMW and Daimler have joined forces with scientists at the Technical University Munich to develop an electric car that is efficient, safe and inexpensive. BMW is the lead manager of the Visio.M research project that has received $14 million in funding from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).

The group feels that since electric cars are silent and have zero emissions they are an important option for future individual mobility in urban areas and beyond. But on the way to mass production of electric vehicles, there are still significant technological hurdles to overcome. Previous small electric vehicles offer only a minimum level of vehicle safety and therefore are not mass-marketable. Electric cars that were derived from gasoline-powered models are usually too heavy and require large and expensive batteries.

The 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1 officially is now a member of the "11-second" club as GM's engineers recently completed a quarter mile in under 12 seconds. GM recently took two Camaro ZL1 models, a manual and automatic to the drag strip. The results: the showroom-stock Camaro ZL1 automatic was the fastest with a time of 11.93 seconds at 116 mph, while the manual equipped Camaro ZL1 took just a tad longer at 11.96 seconds at 117 mph.

"The ZL1 is great at everything and we're very proud of that," said Tony Roma, Camaro ZL1 program engineering manager. "You can take it to the drag strip and run 11-second quarter-miles all day long.

BMW and Hyundai Discuss Possible Engine Alliance

It's being reported that BMW and Hyundai are currently in talks about developing a new engine family together. BMW already has engine partnerships with PSA Peugeot Citroen and Toyota, but now BMW is reportedly talking with Hyundai to share future development costs ($1.3-2.6 billion) of new powertrains.

Automobil Produktion is reporting that Hyundai Chairman Chung Mong-koo's son and heir apparent, Chung Eui-sun, had met a small group of top BMW managers in Munich. Reuters also confirmed with a source that "The talks are at early stages." Another source also told Reuters that the two automakers have been discussing a possible alliance that would see them jointly developing an engine and sharing development costs equally.

A spokesman for Hyundai has denied the alliance discussions and BMW chief executive Norbert Reithofer told reporters on Thursday, "further co-operation partners are currently not foreseen."

Today marks the first time that the Chevy Corvette has ever been available for sale in South Korea.

"The Corvette is an exceptional product that no other Korean manufacturer can match," said GM Korea President and CEO Sergio Rocha. "As the most exciting Chevrolet product, the Corvette Coupe will raise the bar for the brand and its products, and broaden our base of Chevrolet customers in Korea ."

Ferrari Chairman Speechless After Seeing 2013 SRT Viper

Chrysler officially unveiled the all-new 2013 SRT Viper last month at the New York Auto Show. It's being reported that Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo was "speechless" after he saw the new Viper.

Ferrari's Chairman recently got up and close with the new SRT Viper at a recent board meeting. Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne had this to say in a Detroit radio interview on Tuesday.

"The car is a superb machine," Marchionne, the chairman and CEO of the Chrysler Group, told WJR-AM radio, according to a transcript of the interview posted on the Chrysler Web site. "I had the chairman of Ferrari down here for the board meeting last week and he had a chance to look at the car, and he was speechless. I mean, for Ferrari to admit that the car is a unique vehicle is a hell of a compliment to the work that's gone on here. So I'm delighted. I mean, so far, knock on wood, we're doing well."

2013 BMW X1 Gets Up to 33 MPG and Starts at $31,545

BMW has released more photos and information for the updated 2013 BMW X1 that will officially be offered in the U.S. this fall. The 2013 X1 will be the smallest crossover in the BMW's US lineup and will be powered by a 240-hp 2.0L 4-cylinder engine or a more powerful 300-hp six-cylinder. The starting price for the X1 will start at $31,545.

The X1 sDrive28i and xDrive28i feature BMW's 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo
4-cylinder engine. It's mated to an 8-speed transmission and generates 240-hp and 260 lb-ft. of torque. This combination powers the X1 sDrive28i and xDrive28i from 0-60 mph in 6.2 and 6.3 seconds respectively. BMW has announced the preliminary EPA mileage estimates are 24 mpg city/33 mpg highway/27 mpg combined for the X1 sDrive28i while the AWD X1 xDrive28i has preliminary EPA estimates of 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway/25 mpg combined.

Nissan Puts the 545-HP NIssan Juke-R into Production

Nissan has announced that it is going to build last year's Nissan Juke-R concept. The concept combined the body of the Juke crossover with the GT-R's twin-turbo V6 engine and the GT-R's all-wheel-drive system.

Fans of the Juke-R concept will be excited to hear that the biggest change for the production version will be that it will actually be even more powerful. The Juke-R concept packed 485 horsepower, but the production version will get the updated 2013 GT-R engine which now packs 545 horsepower.

Range Rover Evoque Sport in the Works?

Auto Express is reporting that a faster and sportier version of the Range Rover Evoque is currently in the works. Auto Express recently uncovered the plans in an interview with design director Gerry McGovern at last month's Beijing Motor Show.

"You can go too far with the Evoque, but what's so right about the car is it has what I call killer proportions," McGovern said. "For the moment, we're looking at the cabriolet and special editions - we could do a more overtly sporty one, for example."

2013 Kia K9 Flagship Sedan Officially Debuts in South Korea

Kia's all-new flagship sedan, the 2013 Kia K9 is officially going on sale today in South Korea. Kia's new rear-wheel-drive sedan shares its platform with the Hyundai Equus and was designed by former Audi designer Peter Schreyer.

The 2013 Kia K9 is being offered with a choice of two V6 engines, even though the Hyundai Equus is offered with a V8. The base 3.8L V6 packs 286 horsepower, while the top V6 engine will pack 330 horsepower. Both V6 engines will be mated to Kia's new eight-speed automatic transmission. The K9 has four driving modes (Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow), which change the suspension, steering, engine and transmission settings based on road conditions or driving styles.

Since 2001 Mini has been a partner of the Life Ball. During the past 11 years, Mini has partnered with international celebrities to create specially designed Mini models. This year is the 20th anniversary of the Life Ball and the 12th year that Mini has supported the cause by donating a vehicle that is designed by a celebrity and then auctioned off, with the proceeds going to projects combating HIV and AIDS. The auctioning of these one-off MINI models over the last 12 years h as generated proceeds of more than 500,000 euros for the charitable cause.

This year the Life Ball Mini designers are joined by Franca Sozzani, editor of Italian VOGUE and UN Goodwill Ambassador for Fashion 4 Development. In the past years Life Ball Mini models have been created by international fashion designers, including Donatella Versace and Angela Missoni, as well as decision-makers from the fashion scene such as Mario Testino and The Blonds for Katy Perry. Last year Mini teamed up with DSQUARED² to create the Mini Cooper S "Red Mudder" for the event.

Buy a 2012 Scion iQ and Get a Free Sony Playstation Vita

Scion has announced that when you buy a new 2012 Scion iQ that you will receive a Sony Playstation Vita portable entertainment system. "Scion is very proud of the iQ's intelligent and functional design," said Jack Hollis, Scion Vice President. "Similar to the PS Vita, the Scion iQ comes loaded with premium technological features, has a focus on functionality, is concentrated into a suitably small package and most importantly is tons of fun."

2013 Ford Focus ST Packs 252-HP and Starts at $24,495

Ford has announced the pricing for the high-performance 2013 Ford Focus ST, which has a starting price at $24,495. The Ford Focus ST is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with 252 horsepower and 270 lb-ft. of torque.

The Focus ST is Ford's first global performance car and will integrate a collection of advanced and sport-oriented technologies previously unavailable to North American customers. The Focus ST is powered by a reworked EcoBoost 2.0L engine. "The power delivery has no weak spots, there's no way to be left flat-footed," said Lisa Schoder, Ford Focus ST Marketing manager.. "At the same time, drivers wanting to spin this motor into the upper octaves will be rewarded."

Toyota to Unveil All-New 2013 RAV4 EV Next Week

Toyota is going to debut the all-new RAV4 electric vehicle at the 26th International Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS26) in Los Angeles, next week. Toyota has released the teaser photo that you see here. Toyota has not released any other details about the new electric RAV4 that will be unveiled on May 7th, but we do know that it will be powered by a Tesla powertrain. The RAV4 EV will also be produced at Toyota's plant in Canada.

2013 Dodge Dart to Get Up to 41 MPG

Chrysler has announced that it expects its all-new 2013 Dodge Dart compact sedan to get up to 41 mpg on the highway. The 2013 Dodge Dart will be available with three different powertrains, with the "Aero" model getting the highest fuel economy rating on the highway.

The standard Dodge Dart will get an estimated 27 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway, but if Dart buyers want even more, the new Aero package for the 1.4L turbocharged Dart will increase that number to 41 mpg on the highway. Since the Aero package is available with the 1.4L turbo engine, that means Dart drivers will get to also get to enjoy 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque. Chrysler hasn't announced the pricing for the Aero package that will be available in the third quarter of this year.

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