Dear readers,

I apologize that this week and last week didn't post anything auto news. It just because I'm trying to finish my thesis. And I hope next Monday I can collect it to the campus. After that, I can get back posting auto news to you all. Just get back to my blog on next Monday. I hope you all understand and I hope I can finish my thesis as fast as I can. Thanks for visiting my blog and being my loyal visitor.

Wish Me and You Luck,


California Highway Patrol switching to SUVs

When you think of a highway patrol car, you instantly think Ford Crown Victoria. And usually in California Highway Patrol black n' white trim. Since the Crown Vic went out of production last year, you see a few older models out on the roads that have been slowly replaced by the Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, or the Chevrolet Caprice (I know we haven't seen one yet either). But Ford also produces the new Explorer in a police package, and that's what the California Highway Patrol is leaning towards to replace their fleet and to keep it in the Ford family. The CHP maintains a fleet of 4,000 vehciles (give or take a few) and each year, they replace 1/3rd of that fleet with new vehicles.

Due to the ammount of gear that a trooper has to car with him or her on any given day is always increasing. And now with gear mandated by the Department of Homeland Security, the smaller patrol cars offered by the big three just won't cut it.

Of course they'll still be black and white....

Source: California Highway Patrol.

Meet the Evanta Aston Martin DB7

Coming to us from across the pond in the U.K. comes the re-imagined Aston Martin DB7 by Evanta Motor Company. Founded in 1995, Evanta specializes in the rebuilding, restoration, and in a case like this, the building of classic British sports cars. This DB7 has been completely built from the ground up wearing the body of a distant relative, the DB4. While it may look like a DB4, it is still powered by the DB7's V12. It also carries many modern essentials like air bags and air conditioning.

This is a very exciting twist on a very beautiful car to begin with. If you want it, you'll have to act fast as this is the only one made, and like the only to ever be made.

Media release:
The proportions and lines are breathtaking. Its impossible to tell that this is in fact a modern ECU driven, Tiptronic, V12 monster with air conditioning and air bags. Full race roll cage is hidden underneath the stunning interior, which is finished in luxurious Oxblood red leather.

The flawless paintwork is finished in correct Aston Martin solent silver, which has a delicate hint of blue. Wheels are 16" wires with appropriate race tyres.

The car retains the modern instruments of the DB7, yet the fusion of a vintage DB4 dash, DB4 seats and period trim. The blend where old meets new is a stroke of genius. This rare,elegant yet powerful car is the only one available on the planet.

Source: Evanta Motor Co. Ltd.

Italian auto industry rocked by earthquake.

Northern Italy was rocked by yet another earthquake today. One that has literally shut down the Italian auto industry. At least for the next couple of days. The quake was centered about 40 kilometers north of Bologna Italy. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Ducati, and Maserati all are either headquartered or have factories in that area. So far, Maserati is the only manufacturer that is showing damage at their factory. All have ceased operations for the day to allow workers to go home and be with their families. Details are still emerging, so we will keep you posted on this as more details come out.

Source: Autoblog.

New Car: 2013 Xiali N3

The new Xiali N3 has been launched on the Chinese car market. It didn’t happen at the Beijing Auto Show last month but rather sneakingly at the very local Qingdao Auto Show in Shandong Province. Strangely Xiali only showed the sedan but announced pricing for both the sedan and hatchback. The Xiali N3 is made by Tianjin-FAW Automobile, a subsidiary of First Auto Works (FAW).

The Xiali is one of the longest running cars in China. It all started in1995 as the Tianjin Auto Xiali, which was basically a rebadged Daihatsu Charade. Tianjin Auto had a license for the Charade which by that time was already considered very old by the Japanse. Daihatsu was happy it could still earn a few yen by licensing it to the Chinese. Well, the Charade is still around and Daihatsu is nowhere in China.

Price for the yet invisible hatchback starts at 31.990 yuan and ends at 33.990 yuan, price for the sedan starts at 33.990 yuan and ends at 37.990 yuan. The N3 is one of the very cheapest cars on the Chinese market. In big rich cities such as Beijing and Shanghai sales are minimal these days, but the N3 continues to be very poplar in the rest of the country where hundreds of millions of people are still saving money for their first car.

Only engine is a 1.0 four-cylinder with 65hp and 89nm, mated to a 5-speed manual. The previous N3 was also available with a slightly stronger 1.4 but that engine seems gone, at least for now. I guess Xiali will launch it a bit later, to get some media attention yet again…

Thanks to: Car News China

New Car: 2013 Chery Eastar

The new Chery Eastar sedan has been launched on the Chinese car market. The Eastar is a very important car for Chery. The old one was on the market for some eight years and very popular among budget buyers and taxi drivers who wanted a no-frills big car for little money. Chery made the new one much better, much better looking and it is still incredible cheap. Price starts at only 95.800 yuan and ends at 135.800 yuan.

Big car! Size: 4866/1840/1500, wheelbase is 2768. Engines: 1.8 with 132hp and 170nm or a 2.0 with 139hp and 182nm. Transmission: 5-speed manual or CVT. It comes standard with ABS+EDB, dual front airbags, electric windows and mirrors, USB-ports and a six-speaker sound system, and much more… The platform however is rather old and basically the same, but improved, as under the old Eastar. This saved Chery a lot of money and so they still earn a few bucks on each car they sell. It won’t be that much however so Chery needs to sell high volumes, but looking at this car and its price it seems they will do just that.
Thanks to: Car News China

Hot News: Geely High-end SUV to Get Volvo XC90's Platform

The Geely XC90 is on its way, if you believe Chinese media reports.

Volvo has handed the XC90 platform over to its Chinese owners ahead of a new version launching in 2014, the National Business Daily is reporting that Geely will use the XC90 platform to develop yet another high end brand for the Chinese market with the XC90 being the highlight of the new brand. The agreement to hand over the XC90 to Geely was signed on March 9th of this year, but it is not yet clear if any other vehicles were included in the transfer. The next generation XC90 is currently in development and will hit the market in 2014.

The XC90 is no new vehicle, the P2 platform on which the XC90 is based was first aired in 1999 and was developed prior to the Ford purchase of Volvo, the same platform underpinned several cars such as the S80, Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS sedan

Geely launched their first SUV at the Beijing Auto Show, the GX7 SUV is the first AWD product from the company, the compact SUV is powered by a 1.8L engine and a six speed manual gearbox.

Thanks to: China Car Times

New Car: 2012 Fiat Punto Sport

Fiat has launched a limited edition of the Punto 90HP called the Punto Sport.

The Punto Sport comes with Fiat's 1.3-litre 90bhp MultiJet diesel motor. The Sport version gets special decals on the sides and rear with colour-coded wing mirrors, chrome-door handles and a chrome exhaust tip.

Interior upgrades for the Sport version include red stitching on Seats, a leather gear knob & gear cover, aluminum pedals, additional chrome bits on the dash, and Punto branded door sills.

In addition to the above, the Punto 90hp comes with dual stage airbags, ABS with EBD, automatic climate control, an integrated CD/MP3 player with USB and Bluetooth.

The Punto Sport is priced at Rs 7.36 lakh ex-showroom, Delhi.

Thanks to: Autocar India

Hot News: 2014/2015 BMW X5

BMW’s E70 X5 is now getting towards the end of its lifespan, and this rendering from Carparazzi shows how its F15 successor could look when it hits the market next year.

Going on the accompanying image, it’s clear BMW isn’t deviating too far from the existing formula, and that’s hardly a surprise given the sales success of the current-gen X5.

Even though long in the tooth, it’s still the market leader in the premium SUV segment, with 798 Australian sales to its credit until the end of April this year. Trailing it are the Land Rover Discovery (700 sales), Range Rover Sport (578 sales) and Volkswagen Touareg (557 sales).

Based on information at hand, the new F15 X5 will be underpinned by a modified version of the chassis that forms the basis for the accomplished F10 5 Series, and it’s likely to achieve significant weight savings over the current E70 model.

As with the current model, the new X5 will be available with straight-six and V8 power, but some sources suggest the line-up may also include the impressive new four-cylinder turbo engines that have debuted in the new 3 Series.

As with the current range, the new X5 line-up will include diesels and an ActiveHybrid version for buyers seeking optimal fuel economy.

Visually, the next-gen model is an evolutionary design, but the smartened up nose with LED headlights brings it in line with the look of the F30 3 Series. Word has it the taillights will also be redesigned to feature the layering concept pioneered by the recent Vision design studies.

The new X5’s flanks are distinguished by the concave/convex surfaces that have been a feature of all recent BMWs, helping alleviate the slabsidedness that can otherwise mar the look of large SUVs.

Thanks to: Car Point

Hot News: Aston Martin Lagonda is in the Way

Although the design shown at Geneva in 2009 didn’t meet with critical acclaim, the Lagonda project is very much alive and Aston boss Ulrich Bez has recently alluded to an updated Lagonda concept “in the coming year”. A second Lagonda model, a saloon, has already been mooted.

Bentley’s £150k-plus ‘Falcon’ concept will have also encouraged Aston; the Lagonda and Falcon are similarly brutal and statuesque.

Both British SUVs will go a long way to better exploiting demand in the Chinese market, where the appeal of super-GTs like the DBS is limited.

“The DBS sells in a global market segment that is struggling to rebound back 
to where it was, and that’s largely down to China,” 
said IHS Automotive analyst Colin Couchman.

“The traditional markets for supercars — the US and Europe — are still depressed,” he added. “Although the Chinese market remains buoyant, that won’t feed through to Aston because the Chinese don’t yet see the value of displaying their wealth through owning an expensive sports car.”

IHS figures show — based on models in the £160k to sub-£200k bracket — that the global super-GT coupé market won’t recover to its pre-recession high of just over 9200 units in 2008 until 2014 at the earliest. That’s despite the launch of the successful Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG in 2010, a car that has expanded global sales by about 2700 cars a year.

The global popularity of Merc’s second luxury coupé — the AMG-tuned CL — shouldn’t be underestimated, either. It accounts for about a quarter of the market, vying with the £178k Ferrari 458 for the title of best-seller. A new CL AMG is due to arrive in 2015, potentially giving the segment a welcome nudge upwards.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Concept Car: Volkswagen Polo R

The new model, created especially for the VW Group-organised tuning festival, will go on sale before the end of 2013 in the shape of the Polo R.

Power comes from a 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged TSI engine with a reported 225bhp – more than the 208bhp produced by the hot Polo’s larger Golf GTI sibling.

The Polo WRC Street is, as the name suggests, a production model inspired by VW’s entry into the World Rally Championship in 2013. VW insiders have confirmed the Polo R WRC rally car will also go on to inspire a full-blown R version of the Polo road car. The WRC Street is a forerunner to this car.

Setting the Polo WRC Street apart from its more humble siblings is a bodykit that includes a boot spoiler and rear diffuser, plus a more aggressive front-end and larger alloys. R-WRC badges also feature both inside and out.

Also on display on VW’s Worthersee show stand is a running prototype of the Polo R WRC car itself. Power for this comes from a 1.6 TSI engine with 296bhp; it can crack 0-62mph in just 4.1sec.

Other VW exhibits include two special Golf GTI models. The Golf GTI White Concept is finished in a distinctive ‘Orxywhite’ matte paint. The interior gets a contrasting red and black finish, with special leather seats.

The Golf GTI Black Dynamic gets a 2.0 TSI engine tuned to produce 335bhp, plus lowered suspension. Housed in the boot is a 1800-watt stereo system.

Thanks to: Autocar

Recall Up Date: 2007-2008 Acura TL

The Problem: Acura says the power steering hose could deteriorate, causing fluid to leak. Drivers may notice a loss of power steering assistance, while the worst case scenario would be a fire due to fluid leaking onto the catalytic converter. The automaker says no fires or injuries have been reported.

The Fix: Acura will mail notices to customers next month. Once customers receive the notice, they should schedule a visit to an Acura dealer for the repair. Owners can get more information by visiting www.recalls.acura.com or calling (800) 382-2238.

Number of Vehicles Affected: Acura is recalling 52,615 model-year 2007-2008 TL sedans.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: The Future of Ford F-Series & Lincoln MKC

A new automotive industry analyst report makes two things clear: we’re getting a new Ford F-Series pickup in 2015, and Lincoln’s product portfolio may grow considerably over the next four years.

The information comes courtesy of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which released its yearly Car Wars report, which includes predictions on market share increases, the average age of major models (the time a nameplate spends between complete overhauls), and the inevitable prediction for share prices.

BoA/ML’s overall prediction is this: an increasing number of automakers will stop relying on high incentives and move toward more frequent updates and new models in the hopes of keeping profit margins high. Perhaps spurred by Chrysler’s success–the company updated or overhauled almost its entire lineup during its period of financial turmoil and has since seen big gains–automakers may replace models at a quicker pace.

But tucked away in this report are some individual model predictions. BoA/ML predicts that Ford will overhaul 46 percent of its lineup (by volume) in 2015 with the release of an all-new Ford Edge/Lincoln MKX midsize crossover, a new Ford F-Series pickup truck, and a new Ford Mustang sports car/convertible. It’ll follow that up with a 20-percent replacement number in 2016 with a new Ford Explorer, Lincoln MKS, Ford Taurus, and Ford Fiesta.

But BoA/ML also predicts that Lincoln will expand its lineup along the way. Research indicates the possibility of a Lincoln MKD small crossover and MKC sedan in 2014, and a new MKS and an Aviator large crossover in 2016.

We’ve heard murmurs about a Lincoln C-segment crossover before, but the MKC and Aviator are more surprising. Lincoln’s naming conventions would suggest that MKC stands for “compact,” and the MKC would be a Buick Verano/Acura ILX competitor in the burgeoning compact luxury segment. The Aviator, meanwhile, appears to again be based on the Ford Explorer, either as a replacement for the MKT large crossover or an entirely new Explorer-based vehicle.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Recall Up Date: 2013 Lexus GS350 F Sport

The problem: a faulty controller for the variable-ratio power steering system (VGRS) could potentially off-center the steering wheel if the car is started immediately after it is parked with the steering wheel turned.

The fix: Dealers will update the calibration on the VGRS controller at no charge. Lexus will begin notifying owners of the campaign in early June.

Number of vehicles potentially affected: Roughly 650 2013 GS350 F Sport rear-wheel drive models.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Recall Up Date: 2012 Ford F-150

The problem: A software glitch in the front passenger seat’s occupancy sensor – which controls how the front passenger airbag should deploy, if at all – may not function according to original specifications. As a result, in a collision, the system could deploy the bag in an unintended manner, or not deploy the bag at all.

The fix: Ford will replace the sensor at no charge to the owner. Dealers will also remove and replace any affected sensors found in their existing sales inventory. Owners will be notified next week of the campaign, but can contact 1-866-436-7332 for more information.

Number of vehicles potentially affected: 101 2012 F-150s, all built between November 6-15, 2011.

Recall Up Date: 2011-2012 Ferrari 458 Italia & California

The Problem: Ferrari has released more details surrounding its recent recall of 2011-2012 458 Italia and California models. As previously reported, a machining error may have affected the crankshafts used in these vehicles. The crank may not be able to withstand thermal and physical stresses, and could snap and seize the engine.

The Fix: Ultimately, Ferrari aims to replace the crank and bearings, but will offer owners their choice of three repair methods: Dealers can can replace the parts, remove the engine and have Ferrari North America technicians replace the parts, or exchange the engine with an all-new engine provided by Ferrari North America.

Owners will be notified of the recall within the next 14 days, but can also contact Ferrari North America at (201) 816-2600.

Number of vehicles potentially affected: Ferrari says 74 cars – two of which are in FNA’s “custody and control” — exhibit the defect.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Chevrolet Confirms SS Model

We already knew that Chevrolet is working on a civilian vehicle using the Zeta bones of the rear-drive Caprice PPV cop car, and that it will be called the SS. It also will serve as the basis for company’s 2013 NASCAR entry. Today, Chevy made the news official and released some details on both the “limited-production” SS and the Sprint Cup race car. (We also already know that the next-gen SS sedan will move to Zeta II architecture; for more details, read our story here.)

For starters, Chevy has confirmed the SS will get a V-8 engine when it goes on sale late next year as a 2014 model. The company didn’t elaborate as to which engine will power the SS, but we believe it will get the same 6.2-liter V-8 as the Camaro. Expect the big motor to produce about 415 hp in this application. Chevrolet also didn’t mention anything about a six-cylinder SS, but sources tell us that a version with GM’s 3.6-liter V-6 will be added to the lineup after the car’s launch. As for the SS Sprint Cup car, Chevy provided the photo above of a camouflaged test car and also confirmed the racer would debut at the season-opening 2013 Daytona 500.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2012 Citroen C5 20th Anniversary Edition

Citroen has launched the C5 20th Anniversary Edition on the Chinese car market. The special C5 celebrates the 20th birthday of the Dongfeng-PSA joint venture. Congrats there! The joint venture was established in 1992 and started production of their first car, the ZX-based Fukang, in 1994.

The Citroen C5 is also made at Dongfeng-PSA, the C5 20th Anniversary Edition comes with 20-anniversary badges, special alloys, a special red-black interior and a small wing on the back. Engine is a 2.3 with 171hp and 230nm, mated to a 6-speed tiptronic.

Price for all this pretty: 229.900 yuan, and that is only 3000 yuan more expensive than the tops-spec standard C5. It won’t however become a collectors item, this special edition is unlimited and production will continue until the end of this year.

Thanks to: Car News China

New Car: 2013 Toyota Wish

The Estima is not the only Toyota MPV to be given a minor facelift this year – the popular Toyota Wish also gets updated for 2012, bringing subtle improvements such as better interior textures, trim and materials, better fuel efficiency, and of course the most obvious which is the new front look you see above.

The engine options continue to be the same choice of a 1.8 litre or a 2.0 litre unit as per when this generation of Wish was first launched in 2009. The 2.0 litre model is offered as a 6 seater only, while the 1.8 litre is a 7 seater, and includes the option for 4WD.

The 2.0 litre engine is the Valvematic 3ZR-FAE, producing 152 PS and 193Nm of torque, peaking at a relatively low 3,800rpm. These are slightly different numbers from the 2009 pre-facelift model – the 3ZR-FAE made 158 PS and 196Nm then, which are higher numbers, but the 196Nm peak also came in at a higher 4,400rpm. The engine must have been tuned to be more fuel efficient and output less emissions, while having a smoother torque curve kicking in earlier in the rev band.

The 1.8 litre 2ZR-FAE makes 143 PS and 173Nm at 4,00rpm for the 2WD model, and for the 4WD this is reduced to 130 PS and 161Nm at 4,000rpm. Like the 2.0 litre, these are also lower numbers compared to the outgoing pre-facelift car which made 144 PS/176Nm for the 2WD and 133 PS/164Nm for the 4WD.

The 2.0 litre engine is mated to a Super CVT 7-speed transmission, which has a Dynamic Sport Mode not found in the 1.8 litre model’s CVT transmission, except for the 1.8S 4WD model. Another difference between the 2.0 litre model and the 1.8 litre model is the usage of a double wishbone rear suspension on the 2.0 litre, while the 1.8 litre only has that on the 4WD model – for the 2WD it uses a torsion beam.

Thanks to: Paultan

New Car: 2012 Mahindra Thar

Mahindra has launched an upgraded version of its Thar off-roader, priced at Rs 6.75 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai).

The 'New Cool Thar', as Mahindra calls it, now comes with a factory-fitted air-con system. The Thar is available in BSIV 2.5-L 105bhp CRDe and BSIII DI engine variants. The Thar is based on a chassis that is a mix of the Bolero and the Scorpio.

Mahindra also showcased a customised version of the Thar, called the Thar Expedition. It gets a custom-made front bullbar (with an integrated electric winch), rock sliders, snorkel, expedition carrier and roll cage amongst other features to boost its off-road capabilities.

Speaking at the event, Vivek Nayer, senior VP, marketing, M&M said, "We are always responsive towards evolving customers’ needs and the launch of the New Cool Thar (AC) is a step towards giving our customers utmost comfort while they navigate through challenging terrain."

Furthermore, Mahindra took the opportunity to unveil its Adventure calendar for the upcoming season, which kickstarts from June 2012. Mahindra Adventure will unleash a series of events throughout the year, categorised as Great Escapes, Challenges and Multi-day Escapes.

Thanks to: Autocar India

New Car: 2013 Toyota Corolla Axio

Toyota’s 11th-generation Corolla has emerged in sedan and wagon guise in Japan, offering vital hints to what the redesigned Corolla hatchback will look like when it goes on sale here next year.

Due to make its Australian debut at the Sydney motor show in October – a month after its expected global debut at the Paris show in September – the next Corolla hatch will continue to wear the Auris nameplate in some overseas markets.

While the hatch is expected to go on sale here before the new-generation sedan, Toyota is yet to confirm whether it will reintroduce the Corolla wagon, which would compete with small load-luggers including Hyundai’s i30cw, Volkswagen’s Golf and Holden’s upcoming Cruze wagon.

Toyota has sold more than 39 million Corollas globally since the model’s release in 1996, making it the world’s top-selling vehicle ever.

Both the new sedan - known as the Corolla Axio in Japan – and the domestic market’s Fielder-badged wagon have emerged with a new grille flanked by angular new headlights to form an all-new slim-line front-end design similar to that seen on a number of Mitsubishi models.

In Japan, both new Corolla models continue to be available with a choice of 1.3 and 1.5-litre petrol engines matched with five-speed manual and continuously variable automatic (CVT) transmissions. A fuel-saving idle-stop system is available as an option on 1.5-litre 2WD CVT models.

More significantly, in a redesign that Toyota says “sought a return to the Corolla's origins”, the new Corolla sedan is 50mm shorter overall than before, but Toyota claims to have increased rear-seat knee room by 40mm.

Despite being 60mm shorter than before overall, meantime, the new Corolla wagon offers 90mm of extra luggage space, allowing items up to 4100mm long to be stowed with the rear seats folded. It also now features a rear tailgate made of resin to reduce weight.

“Both vehicles were completely revamped to minimize body size while maintaining the ability to safely and comfortably transport four adults over long distances, thereby achieving a perfect fit for compact cars in the Japanese market,” said Toyota.

The Corolla sedan and wagon’s turning circle has also been reduced by 400mm, from 10.2 to 9.8 metres.
Thanks to: Car Point

New Car: 2014 SEAT Mii FR

SEAT has given its baby Mii a dose of attitude. Pictures and details of a sporty FR version have been released ahead of the car's public debut at this week’s Worthersee tuning event in Austria.

This FR-badged version is mechanically identical to the standard Mii, but adds an array of styling tweaks inside and out. And this concept car could pave the way for a production car.

Finished in Tornado red with black trim on the wheel arches, boot and side sills, the show car also gets red accents on the 16-inch wheels. Inside the red and black theme continues with sports seats and a prominant FR logo on the dash.

Producting marketing boss Ulf Eberhardt explained the concept: “The Mii is a [VW] group product so it does not have 100 per cent SEAT DNA. This is one way of giving it that DNA.

“We will do FR, but not Cupra. It will be sporty, not all-out powerful. We have the technology and the power at our disposal within the group to do more – but that would mean adding a 3,000 Euro package on to a 10,000 Euro car.

Eberhardt is also keen to sustain interest in the Mii by regularly creating new editions, with one a year planned. The first is pencilled in for mid-2013.

Eberhardt also has very clear ideas about how the rest of the line-up should take shape. “SEATs look good, but they need to look more like each other. If they all look different, you get lost in the market, which is a problem for a smaller brand like ours,” he added. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2013 Mercedes E-Class Wagon

While the next-gen Mercedes-Benz E-Class is scheduled to arrive in 2015, the automaker is sending the 2013 model under the knife for a face-lift. A prototype wagon version of the refreshed midsizer was caught in public with its new face partially covered up.

We’ve already reported on some of the changes coming to the refreshed version of the popular Benz such as ditching the current model’s quad headlamps in favor of two single-piece units and, judging from the photo, it appears the headlights underneath the camo are simpler and sleeker. The LED daytime running lights also appear to be integrated in the headlight unit instead of their usual place on the bumper.

Although changes to the rear bumper don’t appear to be dramatic, minor revisions to the taillights should shake up the E-Class sedan and wagon’s design enough before the new model arrives in a few years.

The test mule wears minimal camouflage everywhere else, which could indicate minimal changes for the front doors and windows, though the Ponton-style rear side doors may be ditched on the 2013 E-Class. We expect the 2013 E350′s V-6 to get a boost in power and the E550 to get a more powerful and efficient single-turbo V-8.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2013 BMW 135is Coupe & Convertible

BMW will extend its “is” badging to the 1-series starting this fall, when dealers begin taking deliveries of the 2013 135is coupes and convertibles. Whereas the 335is and Z4 sDrive35is are perhaps halfway between normal models and M cars—sort of M Performance cars before such a thing existed—the 135is is more like a 135i with existing off-the-shelf upgrades.

Engine output for the 135is is rated at 320 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque, increases of 20 and 17 versus a standard 135i. The new car also gets an upgraded cooling system with a more-powerful radiator fan and an auxiliary radiator. BMW devotees will recognize these features from the optional $1447 Performance Power kit available on the 135i—but the 135is is built entirely in the factory, while the Performance Power kit is a dealer-installed package. A BMW Performance exhaust, normally a $1250 option, also is included on the 135is. Shoppers can spec their car with either a standard six-speed stick or an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

For interior and exterior upgrades, the 135is borrows from the standard M Sport package, a $1300 perk for normal 1-series cars. It includes an M steering wheel, sport seats—only the 135is seats can be ordered with blue contrast stitching, though—and black exterior trim in lieu of chrome. A black kidney grille ($125 in the BMW accessories catalog) and black side-mirror caps add to the 135is’s darker look. Stainless steel pedals are installed, a $156 value. A new 18-inch wheel design actually is unique to the 135is. And can you really put a price on the special 135is badges affixed inside and out?

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2013 Toyota Estima

The Toyota Estima has been given a facelift for 2012, about three years after the last update which saw Toyota giving it a minor revision to the shape of the headlamps.

For the 2012 facelift, the Estima’s front end has been given a new aggressive look, with a lot of angular detailing on the front bumper, and a front grille design that now follows the bottom edge of the headlamp.

There are not many changes at the rear of the car – the Estima continues to have a sleek silhouette, giving it a sportier look as opposed to the huge boxy “VIP style” look that its bigger brother the Alphard carries. There are new alloy wheel designs, a revised set of exterior colours (total of 6), and Toyota also says they’ve improved the interior tirm and textures.

Engine options also continue to be the same – either a 2.4 litre four cylinder 2AZ-FE making 170 PS and 224Nm mated to a CVT gearbox, or a top of the line 280 PS 344Nm 3.5 litre V6 engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Various gadgets that were already on the pre-facelift Estima continue with the new model, such as the Lane-Keep Assist (LKA) system which detects the lane markers on the road and takes control of the electric power steering to keep the car on course, and the Adaptive Front-Lighting System low beam headlamps wihichswivels according to steering position to help light up the upcoming road around a bend.

The Estima is also equipped with a S-VSC system, an enhancement from the regular VSC system, which can use the electric power steering to apply appropriate steering torque to help stabilize the car.

Thanks to: Paultan

New Car: 2013 Chevrolet Trax

Chevrolet will introduce the Trax compact crossover at the Paris Motor Show this September. Although the Trax is scheduled to go on sale in 140 different countries, Chevrolet won’t bring the new model to the U.S. market.

The Chevrolet Trax isn’t a huge surprise, given that in March we saw patent drawings previewing a Chevrolet-badged crossover that was based on the new 2013 Buick Encore. The car has also been reskinned for European markets as the Opel Mokka, but producing a Chevrolet version will help General Motors sell the Trax in so-called emerging markets like Asia, South America, and so on.

Chevrolet confirms that the Trax won’t be sold in the U.S. because it would allegedly infringe on the territory of the Equinox crossover. Still, there is quite a large margin between the vehicles: the Equinox is 19.3 inches longer and 2.6 inches wider than the Buick Encore, on which the Trax is based. With that in mind, it’s not impossible that the two crossovers could attract different types of buyers. Regardless, the Equinox is one of Chevrolet’s strongest-selling vehicles, so the brand would be loathe to reduce that sales momentum by introducing the Trax in our market.

The Trax will first launch in Mexico by the end of this year, and then Chevrolet will roll out the crossover around the world. There’s no word yet on powertrain options or equipment, though the company promises the Trax, “delivers the flexibility, great fuel economy and car-like handling that urban explorers around the world require.” We wouldn’t be surprised if the same engines found in the Mokka wind up in the Trax; if so, expect buyers to choose between a 1.6-liter I-4, a turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4, or a 1.7-liter turbo-diesel I-4. Expect any of those three engine choices to be mated with a six-speed automatic transmission, along with either front- or all-wheel drive.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2013 BMW M135i

BMW pulled the wraps off of the new three-door 1 Series and the performance-oriented M135i. The high-po version comes courtesy of BMW’s M Performance division, but, sadly, the brand has no plans to bring the car stateside yet.

Powering the range-topping M135i is BMW’s sweet 3.0-liter inline-six, with 320 hp being sent to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. Differentiating the M-tuned model from lesser 1ers are M-specific suspension, aerodynamic body kit, unique interior trim, and, of course, the six-cylinder engine.

The M135i is the first car from BMW’s new M Performance Automobile line to use a gas engine as well; the others – notably the M550d, X5 M50d, and X6 M50d — all use turbocharged diesel engines. Similar to the three larger M-tuned cars, the M135i will also be available with xDrive all-wheel drive. For buyers who want more flexibility from their hot hatch, BMW will also offer the smallest M Performance car in both three- and five-door variants.

While we may not be seeing the hatchback M135i stateside any time soon, take a good hard look at the three-door model – it gives us a fairly solid look at what the next-generation of 1 Series coupe and convertible will look like. Both of those models will most definitely be ported to North American markets come 2014.

Officials are saying very little about those models, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the next 1 Series range is punctuated by with the 170-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 used in the new 118i, and the 320-hp engine found in the M135i. There’s also a chance the turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, used in the new 328i, 528i, and X3 xDrive28i models, could be added as a bridge between those two extremes.

We’ve heard no indication of such, but if BMW were interested in gunning down the next Audi A3 – which has found success here in the U.S. with its TDI diesel engine range – the European 120d’s 2.0-liter turbo-diesel I-4 could also potentially be added to the lineup as well.

Until those plans become concrete, you’ll have to simply pine over the M135i from abroad. In the meantime, BMW also released a video of two M135i three-doors playing a game of tag in a rain-soaked cargo dock, complete with plenty of the straight-six’s sweet exhaust note.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Mini John Cooper Works GP

At this weekend’s Mini United festival in France, Mini revealed the John Cooper Works GP. Set to be the brand’s hottest hatch yet, the new model was announced at the New York auto show as a follow-up to the limited-run GP package offered for the 2006 Mini Cooper.

Calling it the “fastest Mini ever built,” the company proudly notes that the spicy hatchback was tuned on the Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany — which is exactly where our spy photographers spotted a camouflaged prototype back in March. The new John Cooper Works GP set a Nürburgring lap time of 8:23, which is almost 19 seconds quicker than the time set by the previous John Cooper Works GP.

Mini says the car has adjustable suspension, race-spec brakes, race tires, bespoke four-spoke wheels, and new aerodynamic body parts to improve downforce. The rear seats have been removed to trim weight, and the roof gains a carbon-fiber spoiler. However, other performance statistics won’t be released until closer to the car’s on-sale date.

For now we know only that the Mini GP will use a turbocharged engine — which is almost certainly an upgraded version of the turbo 1.6-liter inline-four in the Cooper S and JCW models.The engine makes 208 hpin the current JCW,and the new Mini Countryman JCW extracts 211 hp from the 1.6-liter turbo-four engine. It’s a safe bet the new JCW GP will be rated for more than the 214 hp of the previous GP model, which used a supercharged 1.6-liter engine.

As before, production will be limited to 2000 units worldwide, though Mini has yet to determine how many of those will be available to American buyers. Pricing will be announced at a later date.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2013 BMW 3 Series Wagon

We like the BMW 3-series, and we like station wagons. So here's good news: BMW has released the first round of info on the new 3er Sports Wagon, or Touring as it is called in the Old World. It will be offered in the U.S. once again, and we expect to see a 328i with the 2.0-liter four making 240 hp, a 300-hp 335i with the 3.0-liter turbo six, and a 330d with a 3.0-liter straight-six turbo-diesel and around 250 hp.

What, a 330d? "We haven't given up on the diesel in the U.S. at all," a company source tells us. As it does with the new 3 sedan, BMW will offer a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic on its gasoline-powered models, but the 330d likely will be automatic-only. No word yet on an M335i M Performance model, but it is a possibility for the sedan and wagon. Europe, by the way, gets a number of lesser versions, starting with the 316d that makes a positively pedestrian 113 hp.

Excepting a slightly shorter length for the five-door, the dimensions of the 3-series Sports Wagon are identical to those of the sedan, but the luggage-carrying advantage comes when the seats are folded down and its loaded up to the ceiling. In fact, BMW claims the 3-series is the most spacious station wagon in its class. That's true, according to the current European measurement methods, but only by a very slight margin. In fact, the difference when compared to the Audi A4 Avant and the not-for-U.S. Mercedes C-class T-model is absolutely negligible.

Depending on the model, the BMW 3-series Sports Wagon is about 175 pounds heavier than its sedan counterpart. That's partly due to the extra glass and steel, but it can also be traced back to extra equipment that makes life with this station wagon even more pleasant. The rear window can be opened separately, there is a sophisticated cover for the luggage compartment, and the rear seat can be split and folded down in 40:20:40 sections.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Hot News: Next Opel Zafira Will be Built by PSA?

General Motors is planning a far more radical shake up of its European operations than previously expected, according to a report published today by Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine.

Quoting informed sources at Vauxhall sister company Opel, Der Spiegel says senior General Motors managers in North America have reached a decision to shift production of the Astra from Opel’s main Russelsheim plant in Germany to both its Polish-based Gelwice factory and Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port operations in the UK.

The report has angered Opel worker’s union representatives who suggest production of the Astra costs 220 euro more at Ellesmere Port than in Russelsheim. The loss of the Astra would leave Russelsheim with the production of just one model, the Insignia.

Job cuts of up to 200 are mooted for Opel’s development centre in Russelsheim.

More significant is the news that General Motors is close to announcing the closure of Opel’s Bochum plant, which currently produces the Zafira and Astra.

Der Spiegel has also reported that General Motors is studying a plan that would see the next generation Zafira be conceived and developed by PSA (Peugeot Citroen), with which it holds a seven per cent shareholding.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Nissan's EV Plan for Future

Nissan is planning to introduce four new electric vehicles over the next few years. They include an updated version of the Leaf, a van, an Infiniti EV and an outrageous commuter vehicle aimed at younger customers, Auto Express has learned.

First to arrive will be a tweaked version of the Leaf hatchback, which will make its debut at the Paris Motor Show in October. The new model will be built not in Japan but at Nissan’s Sunderland plant. It will be offered in more than one trim grade for the first time, which will bring the entry-level price down.

Next up is an electric van in late 2013, which is likely to be a production version of the Leaf-look alike e-NV200 concept revealed at the Detroit Motor Show in January.

Following that will be the first electric Infiniti, based on the LE Concept. The battery-powered four-door saloon will rival the Tesla Model S when it arrives in 2014.

The LE Concept featured a number of pioneering technologies – including intuitive touch screens and a wireless charging system, both of which could make production.

Andy Palmer, Nissan’s Executive Vice President told us: “The technology for wireless charging is fairly simple really, and probably not much more than a year away. The problem is it only delivers a slow standard mains charge – fast-charging wirelessly is a little more tricky,”

Arriving around 2015, the electric commuter vehicle is known internally as ‘Symbol’ and will be a fresh take on how an electrical vehicle looks.

Inspiration could come from Nissan’s series of Pivo concepts. “It’s aimed at the generation that’s coming up, that seems to have very little interest in conventional cars,” Palmer explained. “If you add in-wheel motors and batteries under the floor, everything from there up is up to you.” For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2014 Porsche 918

What It Is: Porsche’s new supercar, the 2014 918, which will be launched as a Spyder with a removable top and as a hybrid only. Later, a coupe body and racing versions could be added.

Why It Matters: This car is the spiritual successor of the 959 of the 1980s and the nearly decade-old but not forgotten Carrera GT. The 918 model designation also evokes memories of the infamous 917 race car. This new supercar is Porsche's ultimate technology showcase, it will be the company's most expensive car, and it is designed to deliver extreme performance and efficiency simultaneously.

Platform: Like the Carrera GT, the 918 is an extremely low, mid-engined supercar. The 918 Spyder is built on a standalone platform, but we hear it will share components with the 911.

Powertrains: Propulsion will come from a naturally aspirated, 9000-plus-rpm 4.6-liter V-8 with 570 hp, a rear electric motor with around 120 hp, and a front electric motor with around 110 hp. Combined output will start at 770 hp. Porsche will use performance-oriented lithium-ion batteries. (For an in-depth look at the 918’s powertrain and more information, check out our prototype ride.)

Competition: The air is thin in this price segment; there will be fully electric and therefore far less usable competitors such as the Audi R8 e-tron and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell; the 918 Spyder also will be compared with other supercars, such as the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 and the McLaren F1 successor.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Breaking news: Carroll Shelby passes away at 89

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of racing and sports car legend Carroll Shelby who passed away today in Dallas Texas at the age of 89. Shelby, a racing legend in his own time. A winner of the 24 hours of LeMans. He was father of the legendary Cobra and the line of Mustangs that carried his name. Details of his death have not been released at this time, but Shelby has been hospitalized recently.

Spied: 2014 Porsche Macan

These are the very first images of the all-new Porsche Macan ahead of its launch next year. Based on the same platform as the Audi Q5, the Macan is a a smaller and more fuel efficient SUV positioned below the Porsche Cayenne in both price and size.

These images show that the Macan will look much like a shrunken Cayenne, but with a far lower and more curved roofline. There’s the same sculpted body, with elongated headlamps integrated into sculpted wheelarches, while the rear end has been covered up with stickers to obscure the detailing. There’s the same LED strip beneath the headlamps and the same intake as the Cayenne, too.

The Macan will be wider than the Q5 to give it a sportier stance, while the rear end gets a more steeply raked windscreen. The curved windows in the C pillars and decorative chrome surrounds are familiar cues from the Cayenne.

The model spied here has five doors but a sportier three-door version is expected to follow.

The Macan will use more efficient, smaller capacity engines than its bigger brother, sourced from the Audi Q5 range and developed by Porsche itself.

The flagship is likely to use a 345bhp turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 sending power to all four wheels through a seven-speed PDK gearbox. Performance should be impressive and 0-62mph should take less than 5 seconds.

The more efficient models will still be fast, and are likely to use a new 2.4-litre flat-four engine Porsche is busy developing for its 'baby Boxster' sports car, known internally as the 9X1. The flat flour will be crucial in keeping the brand’s core identity while offering performance and efficiency, as well as a bold exhaust note.

There will also be diesel versions as well as a hybrid, like the Cayenne, which is likely to use the 2.0 TFSI mated to an electric set-up, just like in the front-drive Audi A8 Hybrid and forthcoming Audi Q5 Hybrid. The Macan, however, will be strictly all-wheel drive.

Expect the Macan to use Porsche’s PASM and torque-vectoring technologies to offer class-leading grip levels and a choice of both ride height and suspension stiffness. There will be bigger brakes than the Audi Q5, larger wheel and tyre combinations and quicker steering.

The Macan, which will be built on its own line in Leipzig in Germany, not only broadens the Porsche range but will helps Porsche to hit the EU’s emissions targets for niche manufacturers, which means reducing average emissions by 25 per cent, compared to 2007, by 2015.

The Porsche Macan goes on sale in late 2013 and is expected to start from around £35,000. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2012 Aston Martin DBS Ultimate

Aston Martin has pulled the wraps off the DBS Ultimate, a 100-unit special edition of the supercar that probably spells the end of the line of the current DBS, ahead of a redesign.

The Ultimate is based on the stock DBS, and is available in either coupe or convertible (Volante) body styles, and with either a six-speed conventional automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Power comes from Aston Martin’s oft-used 6.0-liter V-12 engine, which makes 510 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.

The Ultimate’s upgrades are primarily visual. The body can be painted in one of two hues, meaning buyers will choose from either Silver Fox Quantum Silver (perhaps a nod to the DBS’ starring role in James Bond’s Quantum of Solace) or Carbon Black. The wheels are silver and polished black, and customers can paint their brake calipers in red, yellow, or black.

The Ultimate edition also gets a number of carbon fiber trim pieces on the inside and outside, including the rear diffuser, taillight inserts, wing mirror caps, and dashboard/transmission tunnel trim. There are plenty of Ultimate Edition badges both inside and outside the vehicle, and a few other unusual touches (i.e. the “spicy red leather” accents on the shift paddles) hidden throughout.

Aston Martin releases its new DBS amidst rumors that a new flagship is coming, so we don’t take the Ultimate nickname for naught: this is very likely the last DBS model before a new vehicle rears its head in the near future. In the meantime, if you’d like one, rush to your nearest Aston Martin dealer — and bring $287,576 if you want the Coupe or $302,576 if you’re interested in the Volante. If you do, expect to see an Ultimate DBS in your driveway some time next year.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: 2014 Scion FR-S/Toyota GT86 Convertible

What It Is: The rear-wheel-drive Scion FR-S will be offered in softtop convertible form, we've learned, confirming recent rumors. (The images you see here are renderings.) Unlike the Fast and Furious–ized FR-S roadster that an aftermarket tuner recently showed in California, the production FR-S convertible should retain its rear seats.

Why It Matters: The FR-S—as well as the Toyota GT 86 that’s sold elsewhere and the nearly identical Subaru BRZ—is a reasonably priced, relatively light, rear-wheel-drive sports car. In other words, the vehicle enthusiasts have been begging automakers to actually build. A convertible version will add volume, which means more income for Toyota and happy accountants. Happy accountants are more likely to approve projects for fun cars in the future.

Platform: The convertible will, of course, be built on the same platform as the joint Toyota/Subaru coupe. This architecture also stands a good chance of being used for other Toyota models. It's versatile enough to be enlarged, and could be the basis of a small four-door sedan or larger two-door coupe. Product planners are hard at work on the possibilities, a source tells us, although we're not sure if any of the spinoffs have been approved for production.

We don't yet know whether Subaru has any plans for this platform beyond the BRZ, but it seems less likely. Subaru already has a lineup of sporty four- and five-door vehicles, with a new WRX and STI expected soon.

Powertrain: The same 200-hp, 2.0-liter boxer-four from the FR-S and BRZ coupes will be used for the convertible. Manual and automatic transmissions, both of the six-speed variety, will be offered. Roof or not, we’ve learned that no Scion FR-S will get a turbocharger.

A bigger coupe or other eventual models based on the FR-S’s architecture likely would get larger engines to deliver the power and refinement customers in those segments expect.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

No new Top Gear until 2013!

This is absolute rubbish news coming from the U.K. Some say that it just can't be true, but Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson (shown here in a file photo) has confirmed via Twitter that outside of an annual Christmas special, there will be no new Top Gear episodes until sometime in early 2013. Why no new episodes? Well, Jezza is blaming that on Simon Cowell and one of his TV shows. I guess this is what happens when two BBC TV powerhouses go head to head. Or could it be that the Stig has been asked to be a judge on one of Cowell's shows? And on that bombshell, we'll keep vigil and enjoy our hard drive of prior seasons shows.

Jerry Seinfeld working on a car show?

Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Adam Carolla, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld. These are just a few of the names of big time Hollywood car guys. Rumors are swirling that Jerry Seinfeld is working on a new show revolving around cars and some of his comedic friends. Details are scarce, but this photo of Seinfeld and Larry David with one of Jerry's cars, a vintage split window Volkswagen Beetle have started flying around the net. 

Volkswagen setting records again.

Volkswagen is no stranger to setting records. Be it sales volume records or having a car swim across the English channel or the Panama Canal. Here's a new world record notch for the belt. An American built 2012 Passat TDI has set the world record for longest distance on one tank of gas. The trip started by mileage guru's John and Helen Taylor left Houston, TX on May 3rd and arrived in Sterling, VA on May 5th. A typical three day trip, simulating a typical trip. The Passat was bone stock, and carried over 120 pounds of luggage and drove only during daylight hours. What was the world record distance? 1,626 miles beating the previous record of 1,526.6 set by a BlueMotion Passat in Europe. Over the course of the trip, the Taylor's averaged just over 84 miles per gallon. Who says you need a hybrid?

Source: Volkswagen of America

Press release:



Mileage experts John and Helen Taylor complete 1626-mile drive in Chattanooga-built Volkswagen Passat TDI®—without stopping for fuel!
  • Record set using a stock 2012 Passat TDI SE with six-speed manual transmission
  • Average of 84.1 miles per gallon during three-day trip
  • Shows mileage benefits of VW Clean Diesel technology

Herndon, VA -  The world’s most fuel-efficient couple has done it again. John and Helen Taylor were determined to break the record for the farthest distance traveled on a single tank of fuel. They decided to attempt the record in the U.S. with a stock 2012 Volkswagen Passat SE TDI Clean Diesel vehicle equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. The previous record for the most miles covered on a single tank of diesel was 1526.6 miles, achieved with a VW Passat 1.6 BlueMotion® diesel in Europe.

The result? A new record of 1626.1 miles, achieved on one tank of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel under real world driving conditions. That’s an incredible 99.5 miles better than the old mark. Over the course of three days and driving through nine states, the couple averaged 84.1 miles per gallon, spending only 4.65 cents per mile. The three-day drive commenced on May 3, 2012 in Houston, TX and ended on May 5, 2012 in Sterling, Virginia. To make the drive as realistic as possible, the couple included 120 pounds of luggage and drove during daylight hours to experience normal traffic situations. Additionally, the couple took turns driving and didn’t travel more than 14 hours per day.

“We’re excited to have broken the record for the longest distance driven on one-tank of fuel,” said John Taylor. “The Passat TDI was the perfect car for the trip. It offers plenty of interior and cargo space, yet is frugal enough to help us achieve this record.”

The Passat’s 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel inline four-cylinder engine produces 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque and with a manual transmission delivers an EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 43 mpg on the highway. The TDI engine is equipped with a Selective Catalytic Reduction System (SCR) that fulfills emissions requirements in all 50 states. The Passat—built at the world’s only LEED Platinum certified automotive factory in Chattanooga, TN—was named Motor Trend’s 2012 Car of the Year.

“The Passat was engineered and designed to be a comfortable yet fun to drive alternative in the midsize segment. The TDI Clean Diesel version unites driving dynamics and fuel efficiency that isn’t found in the competitive set,” said Rainer Michel, Vice President of Product Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “We’re honored that the Taylors chose the 2012 Passat TDI as the vehicle to set this outstanding distance record. Their record shows just how economical the Passat TDI can be in the right hands.”

Prior to the drive, the speedometer and odometer were calibrated by a state certified testing station in Houston, Texas. Law enforcement officers from the city of Houston, Texas oversaw validation of mileage, fuel fill-up, and gas tank sealing at the beginning of the drive. A Loudoun County, Virginia Sheriff’s Deputy verified completion of the drive and mileage prior to removing the fuel tank seal.

The Taylors have made a career out of driving efficiently and conducting workshops globally on fuel-efficient driving techniques. They have collected more than 90 world fuel economy and vehicle-related records from drives around the globe.

Back from hiatus.

Ok, I'm finally getting back in to the swing of things after having my computer crash on me. Even though it's been quiet here on the main page, our facebook page has been jumping. So if you log on here and you don't see any new posts, check out the facebook page. Something is always posted there.

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Hot News: Toyota is Working on New Supra

A four-wheel-drive hybrid successor to the Toyota Supra is back on the cards – and this is how the newcomer could look.

The move follows the excellent reaction to the GT 86 – and sources have suggested the new Supra will ride on the platform used for the GRMN concept.

That car featured a modified MR2 chassis and mid-mounted 245bhp 3.5-litre V6 engine, with an electric motor driving the front wheels. The total was around 300bhp.

That powertrain is likely to be carried over into the production car, but with two in-wheel electric motors at the front, rather than a single motor powering both of them. The engine will deliver power to the rear wheels through a CVT gearbox from the Lexus RX. Total power from both sources would be around the 400bhp mark.

Expect to see a 0-62mph time of just over four seconds, which will put the Supra into direct competition with Honda’s upcoming NSX.

The project has yet to be given the green light by Toyota bosses, but if CEO Akio Toyoda has his way and the economy shows signs of recovery, the new coupe is likely to be in showrooms by late 2015, priced at around £70,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2014 Mini Cooper

The next MINI Cooper has been caught testing, and these latest pictures reveal more details of the new model, which has been codenamed F56.

These pictures show the new grille and headlamps of the next-generation MINI Hatch, which shares its platform with the next BMW 1 Series. You can clearly see a longer wheelbase in these shots, and the bonnet has a heavier slope to it, compared to the current car.

The headlamps appear to follow those of the Countryman, with a more rounded, slightly stretched and bulbous look, while the grille is more upright, but stays true to the design of the current car’s. There’s a more aggressive front bumper, and the rear should have a similar treatment. The new car also gets a sharper waistline, while the traditional plastic wheelarch extensions, black roof pillars and floating roof are all retained.

The new MINI will be wider than the current car, which will create more interior space, It will also improve stability, something the longer wheelbase will also help deliver, so it should offer better roadholding than the current car.

There will be a new generation of engines under the bonnet, starting with BMW's new three-cylinder engines capable of up to 100mpg and emissions of 80g/km. At the performance end of the range, the performance flagship John Cooper Works version will have up to 220bhp, as it chases down the Audi A1.

The new MINI will be in showrooms in late 2013. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Recall Up Date: 2012 Chrysler Town & Country & Dodge Grand Caravan

The Problem: Chrysler has announced it will be recalling certain 2012 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans due to an issue with the power liftgate. According to Chrysler, the pinch sensor on the right side of the power liftgate may not work, and may require increased force to stop it from closing during its final stages. This increases the risk of injury if someone accidentally gets their arm or leg trapped in the liftgate.

The Fix: Chrysler and Dodge will replace the right-side liftgate pinch sensors in the Town & Country and Grand Caravan free of charge. The recall will begin this month.

Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 471 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravans built between March 9, 2012 and March 121, 2012 are affected by this recall. Concerned owners may contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler’s internal recall number is M17, and the NHTSA campaign ID number is 12V191000.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2013 Nissan Cima

The Cima luxury nameplate is back, after Nissan announced in 2010 that had stopped producing the Japan market Cima and President. No V8 engine this time around, and if the curvy looks are familiar, yes, it’s a long wheelbase version of the Infiniti M, or Nissan Fuga in Japan.

To go on sale in Japan later this month, the new fifth-generation Cima is based on the current Y51 Fuga/Infiniti M. The 5-Series rival’s 2,900 mm wheelbase has been extended by 150 mm to make the Cima, which is traditionally chauffeur driven.

The Cima’s “first-class hospitality” features soft, premium semi-aniline leather and wood grain panels coated with genuine silver powder, which gives them a mirror finish.

There’s also the “Forest AC” air con system, ventilated/heated seats and a powered ottoman-style legrest. A Bose 5.1 Surround Sound System for the rear seats with 16 strategically placed speakers does ICE duties. Seven-inch VGA displays are installed in the front seat headrests.

More comfort comes in the form of overhead reading lights for the two rear seats, rear illuminated vanity mirror, electrically operated rear sunshades, and switches in the rear center armrest for audio/air con/seats.

Rear door “auto closer” shuts the doors tight with minimum effort from the user, also applicable to the boot. Sound-absorbing tyres (first time for a Nissan) and Active Noise Control tuned for the rear cabin ensure silent progress.

Under the hood, the Cima uses the Infiniti M35h‘s “Intelligent Dual Clutch Control” (one-motor two-clutch) parallel hybrid system. It combines a VQ35HR V6 with 306 PS and 350 Nm with an electric motor with 68 PS/270 Nm. Connected to these are a lithium-ion battery and a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

The Cima achieves both a 20% improvement in fuel economy over 2015 standards and SU-LEV certification, emitting 75% less exhaust emissions than 2005 standards. This means that under the Japanese system, the Cima is fully exempt from automobile acquisition tax and automobile weight tax.

Thanks to: Paultan

New Car: 2013 Fiat Linea

Fiat has launched the refreshed Linea in Turkey. This mid-life facelift brings with it fresh styling tweaks and a refreshed cabin.

Like most other mid-life facelifts, the Linea facelift now comes with a new front grille, re-profiled bumper, new fog lamp clusters and lots of chrome. At the rear, the bumper gets minor tweaks with an additional chrome strip and the number plate has now moved on to the bootlid. The side profile looks identical to the current car though.

Move into the cabin and you will notice it’s here that the designers have spent most of their time and creativity. The new three-layered two-tone dash looks refreshing and feels more upmarket. The steering wheel is similar to the current car, but now comes with a touch of silver and the centre console gets a new integrated audio system and more modern-looking AC vents with useful cubby holes above them. The gear lever, climate control knobs and the door pads, however, look similar to the current car. The instrument cluster, with chrome-ringed recessed dials and circular centres, looks great.

Fiat is evaluating the refreshed model for the Indian market and we can’t wait for it to come here.

Thanks to: Autocar India

Recall Up Date: Ferrari 458 & California

Ferrari is recalling a small batch of 458s and Californias worldwide.

The problem, which affects 206 cars in total of 13,000 built, is caused by an incorrect finish to the crankshafts in question. The problem causes unwanted vibrations which can damage the engine in it is not changed.

“We are writing to all clients affected now, asking them to return the car to a dealer for the work to be done,” said a Ferrari spokesman.

In the UK just 16 cars are affected, ten Californias and six 458s.

Thanks to: Autocar

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