June 2012 Archives

2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake Officially Unveiled

2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake
Mercedes-Benz has taken the wraps off the all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake, which is the production version of the concept that we saw two years ago in Beijing. According to Mercedes-benz, the CLS Shooting Brake is still a "coupe" like the standard CLS, but "with five doors and a roof which continues through to the rear, it promises some remarkable new possibilities."

"The CLS Shooting Brake is based on the great tradition of stylish sportiness which has always characterised Mercedes, and takes these unique icons an exciting step further", explains Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Mercedes‑Benz. "It stands for the enhanced design idiom of Mercedes-Benz which is oriented towards aesthetic, avant-garde principles."

BMW and Toyota Meeting
BMW and Toyota just announced plans to work together on a new sports car. The plan is part of the larger collaboration between the two automakers, which started late last year. In addition to the new sports car, BMW and Toyota will also partner on the development of a fuel cell system, collaborate on powertrain electrification and the research and development of lightweight technologies.

Audi R8 e-tron
Audi has just announced that the Audi R8 e-tron has set a world record for a production vehicle with an electric drive system on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Racing driver Markus Winkelhock piloted the all-electric-drive sports car around the 12.92-mile track in 8:09.099 minutes.

"The R8 e-tron has given a magnificent demonstration of its potential on the toughest race track in the world," said Michael Dick, Audi AG Board Member for Technical Development. Dick, who completed a fast lap himself in the R8 e-tron, added: "The record-setting drive confirmed that we are on the right track. To us, electric mobility has never been about sacrifice, but rather is about emotion, sportiness and driving pleasure."

2013 Nissan Sentra Teaser
Nissan's all-new 2013 Sentra is going to arrive this fall. Nissan hasn't officially unveiled the next Sentra, although we've seen a teaser photo and the Chinese-market Nissan Sylphy, which is basically the Sentra. Nissan just announced that the production of the 2013 Sentra is going to move to Nissan's Canton, Mississippi plant this fall.

The addition of Sentra production, along with the planned November shift of the Frontier pickup and Xterra SUV to Canton from Nissan's operations in Smyrna, Tenn., will create 1,000 jobs, growing Canton's workforce to more than 4,500. "The addition of Sentra production is a testament to our dedicated Canton workforce and the high level of production quality that they deliver each and every day," said Bill Krueger, vice chairman, Nissan Americas. "The Canton team has proved it can compete and win on a global scale, and it is due to this that we are adding three vehicles to our production roster in Mississippi."

2013 Ford Fusion and Ryan Seacrest
The all-new 2013 Ford Fusion arrives this fall, but Ford has just announced a new social consumer program for the all-new Ford Fusion that aims to shatter the bounds of immersive entertainment with "Random Acts of Fusion."

"We are taking a completely unique approach to introduce the new Fusion with a transmedia program, launching this transformational vehicle that over-delivers with its distinctive blend of style, intelligence and technology," said Jim Farley, Ford group vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service. "Combining social media, entertainment and unexpected consumer experiences will allow us to connect with audiences through every type of media, making Fusion's profile larger than ever."

Aston Martin DB9 1M is a Car Designed by its Facebook Fans

Aston Martin DB9 1M
The Aston Martin DB9 1M that you see here is apparently how Aston Martin's Facebook fans would design it. Unveiled last week at Aston martin's Gaydon headquarters, the DB9 1M marks the end of the commemorative campaign to celebrate reaching one million fans on Facebook.

The campaign involved Aston Martin giving its facebook fans, the chance to specify their dream Aston Martin. Fans decided on all aspects of the car including the model itself to the interior trim and then finally choosing the exterior 'Aero' wrap, black brake calipers and 20-inch diamond-turned alloy wheels. No changes were made to the DB9's 6.0L V12 engine, which puts out 470 horsepower and 443 lb-ft.of torque.

Five Tips To Save Gas on That Fun Summer Road Trip

VW GTI Camping
Summer is officially here and even better news is that next week is July 4th. Since many Americans will get a few days off for the holiday, it's the perfect time for that summer road trip. Gas prices have declined somewhat in the past few weeks, but the the national average price for a gallon of regular gas is still around $3.50. No matter what the price of fuel is, it's still not a fun way to spend the money you've worked so hard all year to save. The good news is that there are several simple tips to help you stay away from the gas pump longer, keep more money in your pocket and avoid any last minute car repairs along the way.

2013 Ford Taurus Gets 32-MPG with the 2.0L EcoBoost 4-Cyl

2013 Ford Taurus Limited
Ford has announced that the 2013 Ford Taurus with the 2.0L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine gets has been certified by the EPA with a 32 MPG highway rating. The rating gives the Taurus a higher fuel economy rating than the 2012 Chrysler 300, Chevrolet Impala, and Dodge Charger. The 2.0L has a combined fuel economy rating of 26 mpg.

The 2013 Ford Taurus is available with three different engines, the 237-hp 2.0L EcoBoost four-cylinder, the 290-hp 3.5L V6 and the 365-hp 3.5L EcoBoost V6 in the Taurus SHO. All three engine options for the 2013 model have now been certified at 25 mpg or higher in EPA highway estimates.

2013 Ford F150 SVT Raptor
Ford is giving the 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor a few updates for the new year, which includes available industry-first, direct-from-the-factory forged-aluminum conventional wheels that can be upgraded to extra-capable beadlocks, HID headlights, upgraded connectivity and a new "Terrain" exterior color.

"Ford F-150 SVT Raptor's popularity continues to grow based on its proven reputation," said Ford SVT Chief Engineer Jamal Hameedi. "It's the ultimate high-performance off-road pickup, so it's critical that we continue to push the boundaries of off-road capability. New available beadlock wheels help to improve Raptor's performance in soft sand and other challenging conditions, enabling our customers to go further."

2012 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD
Market research from the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend study has just been released. This year Honda was just recognized as the "Brand of the Year" in the "Full Line Automotive" category according to the study. How did the study come up with its results?

"Using an academically vetted brand equity model with elements like familiarity, quality, and purchase consideration, brands create powerful connections with consumers.The stronger the brand, the greater the bond. The Harris Poll EquiTrend study benchmarks how deep those bonds go and honors the highest ranked brands in each award category."

2013 Ford F-150 Limited Unveiled as the Top Model in the Lineup

2013 Ford F-150 Limited
For the 2013 model year there is a new range-topping luxury model in the 2013 Ford F-150 lineup. Ford has just unveiled the 2013 Ford F-150 Limited, which "signifies the highest levels of design refinement, luxury and technology that we've ever offered in a Built Ford Tough pickup truck." The F-150 Limited is packed with the most luxury features available in the F-150 lineup, which means that it surpasses the Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trims.

On the outside the F-150 Limited is available in three colors: Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, Tuxedo Black Metallic and White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat. It rides on unique 22-inch polished aluminum wheels and gets other unique features like, body-color front and rear bumpers, front bumper valance, sideview mirror caps, wheel-lip molding, upper fascia and grille surround.

2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Debuts with a 40-MPG Combined Rating

2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid
Toyota has announced that the all-new 2013 Avalon will be available with a hybrid powertrain, for the first time ever. The new Avalon hybrid, which goes on sale later this year will be powered by a four-cylinder engine mated to two electric motors and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack.

The 2013 Avalon Hybrid will have an EPA-rating of 40 mpg combined thanks to its Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system that features a 2.5L Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine, a 244.8-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack, and a pair of electric motor/generators within the transaxle. The Avalon Hybrid achieves a total system output of 200 horsepower and offers three unique modes of operation: EV, ECO and SPORT. The Avalon Hybrid models achieve an EPA-rated 40 mpg in the city, and a 39 mpg on the highway for a combined 40 mpg EPA-rating.

2015 Toyota Prius to Lose Weight and Be More Aerodynamic

2012 Toyota Prius
The current third-generation Toyota Prius debuted three years ago, back in 2009. The next-generation Toyota Prius isn't due until 2015, but Inside Line has learned that the next Prius will be lighter, more aerodynamic and ride on lower rolling resistance tires, which are all efforts aimed at getting an even higher MPG rating.

Currently the 2012 Toyota Prius is rated at 51 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway, but Toyota wants to get an even higher rating with the next Prius. It's now getting harder for Toyota to make any significant MPG improvements. According to a Toyota source, Toyota has identified that the greatest improvements can now come from lower rolling resistance tires, which has prompted Toyota to collaborate with tire makers. Aerodynamic improvements are the second priority followed by weight savings.

Chrysler has already confirmed that the Jeep Grand Cherokee is set to get a diesel in the U.S. Automotive News is now reporting that the 2013 model year will be shorter than normal for the Grand Cherokee as the 2014 model will see the introduction of the diesel engine and a new 8-speed transmission.

Dealer orders for the 2013 Grand Cherokee have already started and production of the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee will begin in August. The 2013 Grand Cherokee will still be offered with a five-speed automatic, but in January production of the 2014 Grand Cherokee will begin with a new 8-speed ZF transmission. Production of the 3.0L diesel powered Grand Cherokee is also set to begin at the same time.

Land Rover and Bowler
Long time partners Land Rover and UK's Bowler that builds all-terrain performance cars and rally raid vehicles, have agreed to a new partnership. Under the agreement, "Powered by Land Rover" badging on Bowler's competition cars and across its marketing materials acknowledges the role that Land Rover technology plays in the performance and race success of Bowler products. The "Powered by Land Rover" branding will also be highlighted in joint event and promotional activities.

From its first competition vehicle of the mid-1980s, Bowler has based its racers on Land Rover technology. The company's latest models - the EXR rally raid competition car and the road-going EXR S - both use modified engines, chassis and other components from the Range Rover Sport.

MINI Clubvan
MINI has announced that the Clubvan concept that was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show this year, will enter production this fall. Based on the Clubman, the Clubvan is a MINI for commercial users with its compact delivery van dimensions. It measures 155.9 inches long, has a width of 66.3 inches and a height of 56.1 inches.

The Clubvan has two front seats, while the rear bench has been removed to provide a closed off 30 cubic feet cargo area. The cargo area is 44.8 inches long and has a maximum payload of 816 pounds. The MINI Clubvan also has blocked-out rear side windows and users can access the cargo area either through the split rear doors or the right-side Clubdoor.

BMW Releases Over 180 Photos of the New M6

2012 BMW M6 Convertible
BMW has released over 180 photos of the new 2012 BMW M6 convertible and the 2013 M6 Coupe. Both models are powered by a 560 horsepower turbocharged 4.4L V8 that is mated to a seven-speed transmission. According to BMW the M6 coupe reaches 0-62 mph in 4.2 seconds, while the convertible takes one tick longer at 4.3 seconds. Both models have an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph, but the M Driver's Package raises that top speed to 189 mph.

The M6 coupe starts at $106,995 and the convertible starts at $113,995.

Acura RLX Shows up in Production Form in Patent Images

2014 Acura RLX_Patent
Here's your first look at the all-new Acura RLX, which is the replacement for the current RL flagship sedan. Car and Driver claims that these patent images for the new RLX were made public in a European design patent database this week. The RLX was previewed at the New York Auto Show in April with the RLX concept.

As typical of Honda and Acura, the concept version looks pretty close to the actual production model. The biggest changes are some slight changes to the front and rear fascias and different, more boring wheels. We may see the production version debut at the LA Auto Show this November.

2013 Nissan Altima
Nissan has released one of the first commercials for the all-new 2013 Nissan Altima called "Wouldn't It Be Cool?" In the spot, a 2012 Altima explodes into a constellation of parts that then devolve to a nearly cellular level. From this new material, a new 2013 Altima is formed.

The 2013 Nissan Altima arrives at dealers this month with a starting price of $21,500. Buyers can choose between a 182-hp 2.5L four-cylinder that gets up to 38 mpg on the highway or a 270-hp 3.5L V6.

2013 Chevy Malibu Starts at $23,150

2013 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ
The 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco is already in showrooms, but GM has announced the pricing for the base 2013 Chevy Malibu, which starts at $23,150. The all-new Malibu that goes on sale this summer is available with three different powertrains: a 197-hp 2.5L, 182-hp 2.4L with eAssist and a turbocharged 259-hp 2.0L four-cylinder.

The 2013 Malibu is available in LS, Eco, LT and LTZ models. The turbocharged Malibu LTZ will be available this fall.

Indie Band Metric Teams Up with Acura for the 2013 ILX

2013 Acura ILX - Metric
Acura has teamed up with Indie roack band Metric for the launch of the 2013 Acura ILX sedan, which Acura calls, the "gateway to the Acura brand." "This first-of-its-kind Acura integration allows the brand to meaningfully engage with a band that is recognizable and favored among Gen Y," said Acura Brand Manager Susie Rossick. "This unique program gives us a unique opportunity to tap into the interests of this younger audience and introduce the all-new ILX as the gateway to the Acura brand."

"The collaboration between Metric and Acura was a refreshing change from the typical corporate approach," said Metric Manager Mathieu Drouin. "Together, we created an organic music alignment which benefits both parties, but in particular the fans. It's a win-win."

The first deliveries of the Tesla Model S are set to take place at the end of this week. The EPA has officially given the Tesla Model S a fuel economy rating of 89 MPGe and a range of 265 miles for the top version of the Model S with a 85 kilowatt-hour battery.

Even though the EPA's rating of 89 MPGe may be lower than other electric vehicles like the new Honda Fit EV and Nissan Leaf, the Model S has the longest driving range of any full electric vehicle on the market. The Model S also is larger than the Honda Fit and Nissan Leaf with seating for up to seven passengers.

Polestar Volvo S60 Performance Concept Sells for $300k

Polestar Volvo S60 Performance Concept
Just a few days ago Polestar unveiled a new concept version of the Volvo S60 that packed 508 horsepower and reached 0-62 mph in 3.9 seconds with a top speed over 186 mph. Production plans have not been announced, but it looks like one lucky person got their hands on the concept for $300,000.

The guys over at Piston Heads actually got the chance to get behind the wheel of the Polestar Volvo S60 concept, which would be the perfect competitor to the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63. The concept is powered by Volvo's T6 engine, but a Garret turbocharger has been bolted on to give it 508 horsepower and 424 lb-ft. of torque. It also comes with a standard six-speed manual gearbox and a Haldex all-wheel-drive system.

2013 Aston Martin Vanquish Officially Unveiled

2013 Aston Martin Vanquish
Here it is! Aston Martin has officially unveiled the new top model in its lineup, the 2013 Aston Martin Vanquish, which will be available by the end of this year. The Vanquish draws cues from the One-77 supercar and other Aston Martin models, but according to Aston Martin, the new Vanquish "represents the zenith of current Aston Martin design and engineering."

The new Vanquish is based on the next-generation VH architecture and gets an upgraded 6.0L V12 engine. The new naturally aspirated 6.0L V12 generates 565 horsepower, making it the most powerful production Aston Martin yet, well if you don't count the limited-edition One-77. It also has 457 lb-ft. of torque at 5,500 rpm, reaches 0-62 mph in 4.1 seconds and has a top speed of 183 mph.

2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed
Bentley has unveiled its fastest production model ever, the new Continental GT Speed coupe. How fast is it? With 616 horsepower under the hood and a top speed of 205 mph, the Continental GT Speed is sure to satisfy a hardcore Bentley fan.

The Continental GT Speed is powered by an upgraded version of Bentley's 6.0L W12 twin-turbocharged engine. It puts out 616 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 590 lb-ft. of torque. The W12 is mated to a close-ratio, ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and a permanent all-wheel drive system. According to Bentley, the new transmission makes a significant contribution to an overall twelve percent improvement in fuel economy and CO2 emissions. The Continental GT Speed will reach 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds.

Aston Martin Vanquish Photos Leaked Ahead of Tomorrow's Debut

Aston Martin Vanquish
The first photos of the new Aston Martin Vanquish have leaked online ahead of the car's official debut on tomorrow! The new Vanquish was originally previewed by the AM 310 concept and is the replacement for the DBS.

The new Vanquish will be powered by a revised version of Aston Martin's 6.0L V12 engine that will be mated to a six-speed "Touchtronic 2" automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The V12 engine will pack 565 horsepower and 457 lb-ft. of torque. According to Aston Martin, the new Vanquish will reach 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds and will a top speed of 183 mph.

Lexus May Build the All-New Lexus ES in North America

Lexus is set to introduce an all-new Lexus ES for the 2013 model year. It's being reported that dealers are pressuring the automaker to build the ES in North America. Toyota has already confirmed that it is considering building additional Lexus models in North America, but has not revealed which models could be built here.

According to Tim Morrison, vice president-sales and dealer development, there isn't excess capacity in North America to add Lexus production, but there is enough in Japan. Currently the Lexus ES is built at Toyota's plant in Kyushu, Japan. In the future Lexus does want to gain more market share globally, which, Morrison says would be a good time to look at North American production.

Mercedes-Benz's AMG Celebrates its 45th Anniversary

Mercedes-Benz AMG Models
Back in 1967 the AMG performance brand was founded by by Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher. This year marks the 45th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz's AMG. For the 2013 model year the AMG range will include 17 models. Based on a future growth strategy entitled, "AMG Performance 50," in the coming years, AMG will add several new models to its broad high-performance portfolio, some of which are teased in this photo.

"We are looking to increase our global sales which today stand around 20,000 vehicles, to more than 30,000 vehicles by the time our 50th anniversary, and thereby assert our leading position in this exclusive segment," stated Ola Kallenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG

2014 Kia Sorento Gets a Facelift

2014 Kia Sorento
Kia's best-selling model in the U.S., the Kia Sorento SUV is getting a facelift for the 2014 model year. According to Kia, the Sorento's significant changes include a re-engineered bodyshell, enhanced powertrains for best-in-class fuel economy with lower emissions, improved ride, handling and refinement, additional convenience and safety features and a refreshed exterior.

On the outside the refreshed Sorento gets new headlights with LED positioning lights, a new tailgate with LED rear combination lamps, new bumpers with vertical-axis fog lights and new 19-inch alloy wheels. On the inside it gets a new LCD instrument cluster, new center stack with 7-inch display screen and a new console.

Driving Audi's A3 e-tron Electric Car in Manhattan (Review)

Audi A3 e-tron
The Audi A3 you see here may look just like the standard A3 sitting in your neighbors driveway, but if you look closer you'll notice the large "A3 e-tron" decals on the side of the car. The "e-tron" decals mean one thing, this is not a standard A3. Audi recently gave us the opportunity to get a quick drive behind the wheel of a prototype of its upcoming A3 e-tron electric car. The car won't be out for two years and won't even look like this when it's released (see all-new A3), but its electric powertrain is a preview of Audi's future.

Our drive around Manhattan also gave us the opportunity to grill Audi's Director of E-Mobility, Jeff Curry about the A3 e-tron and Audi's future e-tron electric lineup. Currently the electric car segment is largely dominated by the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. Ford just released its electric Focus, but soon there will be even more electric models to choose from. Audi's A3 e-tron will be released in 2014, but Curry confirmed that the first production Audi e-tron will be the R8 e-tron, later this year. Audi has announced that the electric R8 e-tron will be powered by a 308 horsepower electric motor and a lithium-ion battery that stores up to 53 kWh of energy. Following the release of the R8 e-tron and A3 e-tron models, Audi will also release e-tron versions of the A4 and Q7.

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid EV
Mitsubishi has released a teaser photo of the upcoming Outlander Plug-in Hybrid that will debut at this year's 2012 Paris Motor Show. The new Outlander Plug-in Hybrid will be based on the all-new Outlander and will be the automaker's first plug-in hybrid. According to Mitsubishi, it will also be the world's first permanent 4WD electric car.

The Outlander PHEV's unique drivetrain combination of a front electric motor, a rear electric motor and a gasoline engine will translate into a choice of three driving modes: Pure (Twin Motor 4WD EV), Series (Twin Motor 4WD - EV supported by generator), Parallel (ICE engine supported by Twin Motor 4WD).

Audi R18 e-tron Quattro
Audi has something to celebrate today. The automaker has taken the top two spots at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Audi R-18 e-tron quattro diesel hybrid. The win also marks the first time that a hybrid has ever taken the top spot.

The four Audi R18 cars from Audi Sport Team were the quickest and most reliable vehicles and after 24 hours occupied positions one, two, three and five. "By achieving this further success at the world's most important endurance race our engineers demonstrated their high technological expertise in a particularly impressive way," commented Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi.

"With the e-tron quattro in combination with ultra lightweight design, we put a completely new technology on the grid and immediately won with it - this cannot be taken for granted by any means, particularly here at Le Mans. This weekend again showed the type of things that can happen in this race and how important perfect preparation is."

Polestar Volvo S60 Performance Concept
Polestar has created the ultimate Volvo S60 with the Volvo S60 Polestar Performance Concept. "We are proud to present Polestar's interpretation of the Volvo S60" says Christian Dahl, founder and CEO of Polestar. "It's a car developed with our own preferences in mind which, we from experience know, are shared by a group of active drivers"

The S60 Polestar Concept is powered by the Volvo T6 engine with a Garret turbocharger that puts out 508 horsepower and 424 lb-ft. of torque. It's mated to a six-speed manual transmission and a Haldex all-wheel-drive system. The modifications yield a 0-62 mph time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed over 186 mph.

2013 Audi SQ5 is the First Audi S Model with a Diesel Engine

2013 Audi SQ5
To coincide with the kick off the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi is unveiling a new performance version of the Audi Q5 crossover, the 2013 Audi SQ5 TDI. It's powered by a 3.0L TDI diesel engine with two turbochargers that gives it an output of 313 horsepower and 479 lb-ft. of torque.

The Audi SQ5 reaches 0-62 mph in 5.1 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph. Fuel consumption on the European cycle is just 7.2 liters per 100 km (32.67 US mpg). The engine is mated to an eight-speed transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel drive with torque vectoring.

2013 BMW Alpina B7 Packs 540-HP and Starts at $127,600

2013 BMW Alpina B7
BMW has announced the updates to the second generation BMW Alpina B7 super-high performance luxury sedan. For the 2013 model year, the Alpina B7 gets updates under the hood, a refreshed exterior and more features on the inside. The 2012 BMW Alpina B7 will debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in August. Pricing starts at $127,600 (standard B7), $130,600 (standard B7 with xDrive), $131,500 (B7 Long Wheelbase), and $134,500 (B7 LWB with xDrive).

The 2013 B7 now has 540 horsepower (40 more than before) and 22 lb-ft more torque (up to 538 from 516 lb-ft) thanks to the addition of BMW's Valvetronic throttle-less intake technology and a new 8- speed high performance transmission. Top speed is now 194 mph up from the previous 175 mph and the 0-60 mph time drops into the low-mid-4-second range.

2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe Starts at $17,445

2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe
The pricing for the all-new Hyundai has just announced that the Elantra Coupe will start at $17,445 for the base Elantra GS, while the SE model starts at $19,745.">2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe is up! Hyundai has just announced that the Elantra Coupe will start at $17,445 for the base Elantra GS, while the SE model starts at $19,745. According to Hyundai, the Elantra Coupe, " best-in-class fuel economy, and more horsepower and interior space than 2013 Elantra Coupe has, "best-in-class fuel economy, and more horsepower and interior space than Civic Coupe."

The Elantra Coupe is powered by a 1.8L four-cylinder engine with 148 horsepower that can be mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The manual transmission equipped Elantra Coupe gets an estimated 40 mpg on the highway. The Elantra GS Coupe comes standard with heated front seats, AM/FM/SiriusXM Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system, Bluetooth, power everything, fog lights and 16-inch alloy wheels. The SE model adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, leather seats, sunroof, a unique grille and a rear spoiler. The SE Technology Package ($2,350) that is available on automatic equipped SE models adds a navigation system, rear camera, a 360-watt audio system and push button start.

Infiniti Emerg-E Concept
Infiniti is set to debut its new Emerg-E hybrid sports car concept at the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed that kicks off on June 28th. The Emerg-E concept was officially unveiled back in March at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, but this appearance will be something special. Infiniti has announced that the Emerg-E that we will see at the end of this month will be the first running prototype of the concept.

"The Festival of Speed crowds will be seeing Emerg-E in action for the first time ever, even before many of Infiniti's top executives have seen it. Goodwood's spectators will see not just an exquisite design but an example of our and our partners' technologies for an environmentally-friendly car brimming with true Infiniti driver appeal," stated Jerry Hardcastle, Global Chief Marketability Engineer.

BMW's 2014 i8 Hybrid Supercar is Set to Cost More than $125K

BMW i8 Concept
BMW's upcoming i8 hybrid supercar is still two years away, but Ian Robertson, BMW's global sales chief has revealed that the supercar will cost more than $125,000 when it goes on sale. BMW just opened the world's first BMW i Store on London's Park Lane, in which BMW brought an updated i3 concept as well as a new i Pedelec concept electric bicycle.

The updated BMW i3 electric concept car gets new interior materials that focus on renewable raw materials, like leather that is stained with the help of olive leaves and wood pieces that come from eucalyptus trees. The i3 will go on sale at the end of 2013 and according to Ian Robertson, it will be priced "very competitively for the substance you get."

Cadillac LTS trademark
Currently Cadillac's sedan lineup consists of the CTS, XTS and the upcoming ATS, but a new trademark filling has revealed the name of another sedan that may join the lineup. An application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this month has leaked and shows that GM has trademarked the Cadillac LTS name. Unlike other automakers that like to trademark every variation of a name, GM uses most of the names that it trademarks either on production or concept models.

It's been reported that Cadillac is going to add another sedan to its lineup, but according to Car and Driver, GM is reporting that GM is working on two rear-wheel-drive sedans for the Cadillac lineup. A replacement for the recently released XTS will have rear-wheel-drive instead of the standard front-wheel-drive setup in the current XTS. It will also be positioned between the BMW 5 Series and 7 Series models. Car and Driver also reports that a second model could sit at the top of the Cadillac lineup that would be even longer than the long-wheelbase 7 Series. Either sedan could carry the LTS name.

Audi Unveils the Audi A1 Amplified - Exclusive Edition Models

Audi A1 Sportback Amplified
Audi has unveiled two new exclusive editions for the A1 and the A1 Sportback, the A1 amplified red and the A1 amplified white. The new edition models are based on the Ambition line and will be available for buyers in Europe. The models combine exclusive optional features from Audi, quattro GmbH and Audi Genuine Accessories.

In the amplified red line, the body is painted in Misano Red pearl effect, while the amplified white is painted in Glacier White metallic. Both lines are available in three different equipment levels that build on each other. The interior gets air vent sleeves in the body color, black sport seats with stitching in Parade Red (amplified red) or Rock Gray (amplified white) and floor mats with piping in matching colors.

MINI Rocketman Concept Gets Updated for the London 2012 Games

Mini Rocketman Concept New
Although its been reported that MINI is not going to produce the Rocketman concept that was unveiled last year in Geneva, MINIi has unveiled an updated version of the concept. As part of the London 2012 Games, MINI has unveiled a new edition of the Rocketman concept that combines innovative ideas for personal mobility in major cities with classical, unmistakably British design features inside and out.

The outside of the updated MINI Rocketman concept now sports the colors of the British flag , the Union Jack, come to the fore on both the outside and inside of the car, red and white accents accompanying the dominant dark blue. It also now rides on 18-inch light-alloy wheels that have white polished areas and a metallic red accent. Matt Porcelain White paintwork is also used for the mirror caps, boot opener and surrounds for the radiator grille and headlights.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Officially Starts at $18,395

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT
Hyundai has announced the pricing for the all-new 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT, which starts at $18,395. The new five-door version of the popular Elantra will go head to head with other models like the Ford Focus, Mazda3 and Volkswagen Golf.

The new Elantra GT represents the evolution of Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture design language and is our version of the Hyundai i30 that is sold in Europe. The Elantra GT is powered by a 148 horsepower 1.8L four-cylinder that is mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. It gets up to 39 mpg on the highway. Hyundai also claims that the Elantra GT has more passenger and maximum cargo volume than Focus, Mazda3, Golf and Toyota Matrix.

2013 Nissan Juke Nismo Debuts at Le Mans

2013 Nissan Juke Nismo
Nissan recently teased Juke fans with the high-performance Juke-R that packed 454 horsepower thanks to the twin-turbo 3.8L V6 from the GT-R supercar. Although Nissan is reportedly making a few units of the Juke-R, its price makes it nearly impossible for most of us to ever imagine seeing it our driveway. But not all is lost, Nissan has just unveiled the Juke Nismo that will make its global debut at the 24 hours of Le Mans race this weekend.

The Nissan Juke Nismo gets a new body kit with lower front and rear bumpers, wider wings and sill side skirts, and a modified grille and tailgate spoiler that control airflow. The new more aerodynamic kit reduces the front and rear lift without increasing drag enhancing the Juke Nismo's driving performance. The Juke Nismo also rides on 18-inch wheels ith wider tires.

2012 Kia Optima SX Turbo Goes to Washington (Review)

2012 Kia Optima SX Turbo
Kia recently handed us the keys to its 2012 Kia Optima midsize sedan for the weekend. We decided a trip from Manhattan down to the nation's capital, Washington D.C,. would be the perfect trip to see how well the sedan stacks up against competition like the Camry, Accord and Altima. We were already impressed with the 2012 Kia Rio 5-Door that we drove last month, but the Optima definitely wowed more than just a few of us.

2013 Audi RS4 Avant
Audi has just dropped more details about the 2013 Audi RS4 Avant. The new 2013 RS4 Avant is the third generation of the high-performance wagon, that was first introduced 12 years ago. It's powered by a 4.2L V8 with 450 horsepower and 317 lb-ft. of torque. The V8 is mated to a seven s-speed automatic transmission and the quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system. According to Audi the 2013 RS4 Avant will reach 0-62 mph in 4.7 seconds and has a governed top speed of 155 mph, which can be increased to 174 mph.

The 2013 RS4 Avant also gets other modifications like a .sport suspension with a .79-in lower ride height, wave design brakes with carbon-fiver ceramic discs and front calipers that have eight pistons, 19-inch forged alloy wheels. Audi says that the new electromechanical power steering is highly efficient and provides excellent road feedback.

Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG to Get 330-HP Four-Cyl and AWD

2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Mercedes-Benz has reportedly confirmed that the upcoming high-performance version of the new A-Class, the A45 AMG will be powered by a 330 horsepower four-cylinder that will send its power to all four wheels. The A45 AMG will also be the first ever AMG model with a transversely mounted engine when it goes on sale in early 2013.

The A45 AMG will be powered by a heavily modified version of the 2.0L in the standard A-Class. Mercedes-Benz confirmed to Autocar that it will pack 330 horsepower and "maximum torque significantly above 295lb ft." The new engine is also the most powerful four-cylinder ever offered in a Mercedes-Benz production model.


Honda's U.S. Imports are Losing Money

2012 Honda Fit
Car buyers looking for a Honda Fit or Honda CR-Z are going to start having a harder time finding one. Honda has revealed that it is losing money on every model that it imports in the United States, which includes the Fit, CR-Z and Insight. The current exchange rate is making it harder for Honda to make any money on the cars that it imports into the U.S., so Honda is going to start carefully allocating inventory here. Honda CFO Fumihiko Ike told Automotive News that shipments won't be stopped completely, but Honda needs to limit the units it allocates to the U.S. to minimize the impact of such shipments on its balance sheet.

Even though Honda continues to lose money on the imported models, the main reason that Honda hasn't cut off shipments altogether is to keep certain segments covered and to retain customers. The long term solution to fix the problem would be to move more production to North America. Currently Honda builds 85 percent of the vehicles in the U.S. that it sells here. This compares to only 70 percent for competitors like Toyota and Nissan. Honda has already announced plans to build the Honda Fit at a new plant in Mexico in 2014.

2013 GMC Terrain Denali Starts at $35,350

2013 GMC Terrain Denali
The 2013 GMC Terrain Denali is slated to go on sale in the third quarter of this year. GM has announced that its pricing will start at $35,350. The base Terrain Denali is powered by a 2.4L four-cylinder that sends its power only to the front wheels. The all-wheel-drive model starts at $37,100 and a V-6 can be paired with either drivetrain for an additional $1,500. The 2013 Terrain's 3.6L V-6 generates 301 horsepower. The cost of the V-6 also includes an upgrade from 18- to 19-inch chrome wheels.

The 2013 Terrain Denali gets standard features like Intellilink, GMC's voice-controlled infotainment system with Bluetooth, a power lift gate, an eight-way power front passenger seat and dual-flow dampers for the front suspension. Terrain Denali's standard safety systems include forward collision alert, lane departure warning and side blind zone and rear cross traffic alert.

2013 Buick Verano Turbo Gets a 250-hp 2.0L Turbo

2013 Buick Verano Turbo
GM has unveiled the 2013 Buick Verano Turbo that is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged engine with direct injection that generates 250 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. According to GM, the Verano Turbo will reach 0-60 mph is 6.2 seconds.

"The 2.0L turbo engine was designed for refinement, higher output capabilities and reduced noise," said Amy Joss, Ecotec 2.0L assistant chief engineer. "The way it sounds, the power delivery and the refined character are all fitting of a luxury sedan with a fun side."

2013 VW Beetle TDI Clean Diesel Starts at $23,295

2013 VW Beetle TDI
VW has announced the pricing for the diesel-powered 2013 VW Beetle TDI, which starts at $23,295. The Beetle TDI is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injection clean diesel engine that generates 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. When equipped with a manual transmission, the Beetle TDI gets 41 mpg highway and 32 mpg city. The Beetle TDI can be equipped with either a six-speed manual or DSG automatic transmission. The base Beetle TDI with the automatic transmission starts at $24,395.

VW will offer the Beetle TDI in three trim levels: TDI, TDI with Sunroof and TDI with Sunroof, Sound, and Navigation.

Audi Confirms 2014 Audi A3 Sedan Will Arrive Late This Year

Audi A3 Sedan Concept
Audi has confirmed on its Facebook page that the all-new 2014 Audi A3 sedan will arrive in the U.S. late this year. Audi has already launched the all-new 2013 A3 hatchback in Europe, but its not known if it will come here. Right now Audi is asking its Facebook fans, "Would you like to see the hatchback and convertible, too?"

Last year Audi gave us a preview of the A3 sedan in concept form. You can expect to see the all-new A3 sedan debut at the Paris Motor Show this fall.

2013 SRT Viper GTS-R Hits the Track (Video)

2013 SRT Viper GTS-R
The SRT Motorsports team recently the first on-track test of the all-new 2013 SRT Viper GTS-R. The team hit the track with with team driver Marc Goossens at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, S.C.

Beth Paretta Director of Marketing and Operations, SRT Brand and Motorsports stated, "We're elated with how the SRT Viper GTS-R responded and look forward to returning to the track soon as we prepare to compete in the American Le Mans Series GT class later this year."

The SRT Viper GTS-R is expected to compete in the American Le Mans Series GT class later this year.

2013 Hyundai Accent Gets More Standard Features

2013 Hyundai Accent
Hyundai is adding more standard features to the 2013 Hyundai Accent, which includes heated side mirrors, remote keyless entry and air conditioning. Accent SE's side mirrors have been upgraded with turn signal indicators and buyers can choose to add an optional power sunroof.

The GLS MT base model has been upgraded to with standard air conditioning, AM/FM/SiriusXM Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with 6 speakers, iPod/USB auxiliary input jacks, power and heated body-colored side mirrors, body-colored door handles and sunglass holder.

The 2013 Hyundai Accent is still powered by the same 1.6L four-cylinder engine that has 138 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque. It also has a 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway fuel economy rating.

2013 Infiniti IPL G Convertible Starts at $60,600

2013 Infiniti IPL G Convertible
Infiniti has announced the pricing for the new 2013 Infiniti IPL G Convertible and IPL G Coupe models, which are all now on sale. "IPL", which stands for Infiniti Performance Line was previously only available as the IPL G Coupe, now the IPL G Convertible has been added. According to Infiniti, the IPL models don't focus just on engine power, but instead the Infiniti Performance Line products emphasize "total vehicle performance," including unique driving attributes and exclusive exterior and interior features.

The IPL G Convertible starts at $60,600 and is powered by a 343-horsepower 3.7L V6 that is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission. It also gets an IPL-tuned exhaust and suspension, 19-inch IPL aluminum-alloy wheels, Stone or Monaco Red leather seats and a choice of just two exterior colors - Malbec Black or Moonlight White.

Five Tips to Prepare Your Ride for Summer

2013 Ford Escape

The summer season is officially here, which means lots of fun road trips. While you spend hours figuring out all the cool spots you will hit up this summer, don't forget that your trip will be a whole lot less fun if your car breaks down. Spending hours on the side of a road waiting for AAA to come pick you up is not how most of us would like to spend enjoy the summer season. Here are five tips to prepare your car for the summer:

GM Boosts the 2013 Chevy Volt's EV Range to 38 Miles

2013 Chevy Volt
GM has just announced the changes to the 2013 Chevy Volt. Chevy Volt fans will be happy to hear that the 2013 Chevy Volt's EV range has been extended three miles to 38 miles on a single charge. The miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) will increase from 94 miles to 98 miles and the total range, including extended range operation, will be 380 miles.

GM's engineers improved the Volt's range making minor changes to the material composition of the battery cell chemistry. Manganese spinel chemistry remains the foundation for the Volt's battery system, but the amount of each material has been slightly modified to provide better life performance.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Starts at $21,950

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
The Hyundai we've been waiting months for is finally here! Hyundai has just announced the pricing for the 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo, which has it's name suggests, is a more high-performance version of the Veloster. The 2013 Veloster Turbo carries a base price of $21,950, which in addition to the 1.6L turbocharged engine, also includes a unique body kit, front heated leather sport seats, tuned exhaust, sport-tuned steering, unique 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlight accents and taillights.

The 2013 Veloster Turbo is powered by a 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates 201 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 195 lb-ft of torque at 1,750 rpm with regular fuel. The turbocharged engine features a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct injection. Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Hyundai estimates that the Veloster Turbo will get 26 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.

2013 Honda Fit EV
Honda has just announced that the 2013 Honda Fit EV has been rated by the EPA at 118 MPGe, giving it the highest fuel-efficiency rating ever given by the EPA. This also means that the Honda Fit EV has a higher MPGe rating than other electric vehicles like the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Ford Focus Electric and Nissan Leaf. The Fit EV also has a low consumption rating of just 29 kilowatt hours (kWh) per 100 miles and an EPA rated annual fuel cost of $500.

The 2013 Fit EV is powered by a 123 horsepower electric motor and takes less than three hours to recharge with a 240-vot outlet. Honda will begin leasing the Fit EV at a three-year $389 a month lease rate in select California and Oregon markets this summer. Honda plans on introducing the Fit EV to East Coast markets in 2013.

Next-Gen VW GTI to Pack 260 Horsepower?

The current generation VW GTI may be a joy to drive, but its been criticized lately because its 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine only generates 200 horsepower. 200 horsepower may be ok, but when you look at newer models like the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe that packs a 274-hp 2.0L turbo, the GTI looks a little underpowered. Well VW is reportedly going to fix that with the next-generation GTI, which is rumored to get a 260 horsepower turbocharged 2.0L engine.

The next-generation GTI is also going to get VW's new VAQ front differential that will give it more agile steering. VW is also answering criticism that the GTI is too heavy with a new lighter GTI that will be based on VW's new MQB platform and will get an aluminum floor and roof. The even more powerful Golf R is reportedly going to get a carbon fiber roof.

2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Unveiled with 583-HP

2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT
Here's the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG to dream about. Mercedes has unveiled the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT that delivers even more performance and is available in both the roadster and coupe body styles. According to Tobias Moers, Board Member and Head of Overall Vehicle Development for Mercedes-AMG GmbH, "The new SLS AMG GT demonstrates the sort of potential which lies in AMG's super sports cars. With its even higher levels of performance, the SLS AMG GT excites out on the race track in particular by providing an emotionally enjoyable and passionate driving experience."

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT packs 583 horsepower (20 more than the current SLS) and 479 lb-ft. of torque from its 6.2L V8. The V8 is mated to an AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission located on the rear axle that is more direct and aggressive in the manual "M" transmission mode. Thanks to newly developed gear change logic and optimised transmission control, it has been possible to shorten reaction time significantly during shifts. The extra power gets the SLS AMG GT from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds with a top speed set at 197 mph.

2013 Mercedes Benz CLS Shooting Brake
Patent drawings for the upcoming 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake have leaked online, which give us our first look at the new Benz. From the front end the CLS Shooting Brake looks very close to the four-door CLS, but the rear end is unique with its sloping roofline and steeply raked tailgate. It also gets unique pronounced taillights.

It's rumored that the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake will debt at the Goodwood Festival of Speed next month.

Fiat Sells Out of the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth
The high-performance 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth has only been in showrooms a little over a momth and it looks like Fiat is pretty much out of the 2012 models. Company sources told The Detroit News that Chrysler Group LLC is no longer taking wholesale orders for the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth.

The 500 Abarth is selling so fast that if you want one now, you will be put on the waiting list for a 2013 model, that will arrive this fall. The 500 Abarth only went on sale a month ago, but by the time the first units arrived, there were already a thousand customers on the waiting list. Fiat-Chrysler only originally planned on building 2,000 units this year, but has raised that total to about 3,000 units, which is all that the Toluca, Mexico plant can produce.

2013 Scion FR-S is Now in Showrooms Starting at $24,200

2013 Scion FR-S
Scion has announced that the 2013 Scion FR-S is officially available in Scion dealerships nationwide, starting at $24,200. "The incredibly positive buzz surrounding the FR-S has generated an impressive list of hand-raisers and pre-sold orders," said Scion vice president Jack Hollis. "Scion is thrilled that the FR-S is now available throughout its strong network of about 1,000 dealers. We can't wait for performance driving enthusiasts to get into the FR-S because we know that they are going to love it!"

The 2013 Scion FR-S equipped with a six-speed manual transmission starts at $24,200. The six-speed automatic equipped FR-S starts at $25,300. The FR-S, which stands for Front-engine, Rear-wheel drive, Sport; comes standard with a 2.0-liter boxer engine that generates 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The FR-S has EPA-estimated ratings of 34 mpg on the highway when paired with the automatic transmission, and EPA-estimated 30 mpg with the manual transmission.

2013 Ford F-150 Officially Unveiled with a Mild Facelift

2013 Ford F-150
Ford has officially unveiled the updates to the 2013 Ford F-150 pickup, which gets a new front-end design, MyFord Touch with voice-activated driver controls and available high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps.

"Like our hardworking customers, Ford is committed to getting the job done right with our industry-leading trucks," said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. "The 2013 F-150 demonstrates our commitment to continuously improving our trucks with new features and capabilities, allowing F-Series owners to be increasingly productive."

Audi is Bringing the RS5 Cabriolet to the U.S.

2013 Audi RS5 Cabriolet
Late last year patent drawings for the upcoming 2013 Audi RS5 Cabriolet leaked online, which gave us our first look at the high-performance convertible. Now new documents filed with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) show that the RS5 Cabriolet is being prepared for sale in the U.S. (CARB certifies new models meet California's emissions standards.)

The Audi RS5 Cabriolet will be powered by the same 450-hp 4.2L V8 as the RS5 coupe.

Volvo May Release a C90 Luxury Coupe

2012 Volvo C70 Inscription
According to Inside Line, Volvo is considering adding a new larger coupe to its lineup that would compete against models like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A5 coupes. The C90 would be larger than the current C70 and would be based on the same Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) as the next-generation S60 and S80.

The C90 would also be powered by Volvo's new VEA (Volvo Environmental Architecture) four-cylinder engines and a plug-in hybrid version is also a possibility. If it is approved, a convertible variant is also possible, but don't plan on seeing the coupe until the middle of this decade, at the earliest.

VW's Chattanooga, Tennessee Plant Builds its 100,000 Passat

2012 VW Passat
Just nine months after the all-new VW Passat went on sale in the U.S., VW's Chattanooga, Tennessee plant has built its 100,000 Passat. "We have built each and every one of those 100,000 Passats with a passion for detail that sets the standard for safety and reliability for the mid-size sedan market," Volkswagen Chattanooga CEO and Chairman Frank Fischer said. "I'm so proud of our team for reaching this milestone so quickly while maintaining the superior quality that earned the Passat the Motor Trend 2012 Car of the Year award.

The 100,000th Passat was a Night Blue Metallic 2.0-liter TDI SEL Premium with six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and Moonrock leather interior that was bought by Joanne Benante, who had come from Atlanta, Georgia, to take delivery at the factory. To the cheers of the employees, she then drove her new car through the middle of the gathering and out the front doors on her way back to I-75 and south to Atlanta.

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