AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The Chevrolet Orlando crossover will not be sold in the United States after all. In an interview with Bloomberg, Margaret Brooks, GM’s product marketing director for small cars and crossovers said that “The best thing to do for Chevrolet is to focus on the brands we’ve already brought to market: the Traverse, Equinox, Malibu and, soon to come, the Cruze.”
In addition to Asia and Europe, the Orlando, a seven seater minivan based on the same platform as the Cruze and Volt, will be sold in Canada, where the Mazda5 (a direct competitor to the Orlando) is a popular vehicle. Canadians typically buy smaller vehicles due to higher vehicle costs, and an average gas price of $4 per gallon.
[Source: Automotive News]
The Trofeo Maserati series held its first test day at Vallelunga circuit this week, and it was just as awesome as you might expect it to be. The series is an arrive-and-drive competition for international ballers gentleman drivers who want to go fast in style – much like the Ferrari Challenge or Lamborghini Super Trofeo series.
The GranTurismo MC race cars used in the series weigh less than 3,087 lbs and while Maserati hasn’t released horsepower output numbers, the cars use Maserati’s 4.7-liter V8 powerplant.
Maserati released a few official videos of the cars on track but they aren’t very exciting. Instead we found this video on YouTube. Turn up your speakers and hear that unrestrained Italian V8 howl!
Hit the jump for the video:
Drifting is a dangerous sport, and not just for the drivers. Having photographed several drift events this author is well aware of the risks involved - I’ve have even had a few close calls, on one occasion a friend of mine pulling me away right as the vehicle struck the K-rail. At another event the “track mats” shot up (while the vehicle was doing a burn out over them) flying right past my head. So needless to say, as safe as they try to make it for the photographers, there’s always a risk with cars going sideways.
During the recent SSS Gecko Cup drifting event in Warsaw, Poland a camera man became collateral damage when an Nissan S13 went flinging sideways a little too quickly. The car slammed into the safety rail (which wasn’t the concrete K-rails we’re used to) which in turn knocked into the camera man. Clearly the camera man takes a nice fall and apparently he was unconscious for a few seconds, thought it doesn’t seem so. But hey, he lives to shoot another day and that’s all that matters!
Make sure to check out the video after the break, it makes you think twice how closely you stand next to the action!
[Source: Tampa Sports Car Examiner]
Tesla Motors is set to expand its lineup with the previously announced Model S sedan, as well as an all-new crossover. First up is the Model S sedan, due in 2012. It is expected to retail for $50,000, about half the cost of the Tesla Roadster sports car. By 2014, Tesla will introduce a replacement for the current Roadster, as well as a new crossover vehicle.
Elon Musk, chairman of Tesla, said that future vehicles will feature four-wheel drive, a 17-inch touch screen and the ability to swap batteries out in one minute. The cars will also have a range of 300 miles and the ability to achieve a five-star crash test rating.
Tesla also announced a deal to supply some electric vehicle technology to Mercedes-Benz for their A-Class and Smart compact cars. Tesla plans to supply other companies with similar technology and make it a cornerstone of their business.
Proving that you can never have enough niche vehicles, BMW is reportedly considering production for a possible X4 after the X6 SUV/Coupe sold 80,000 units worldwide last year, beating expectations by 100 percent.
Now, BMW is looking into the prospect of building something smaller, but with the same profile and styling cues as the X6. Reports suggest that the new car would be spun off the upcoming BMW X3 platform, and resemble the rakish X6, albeit with smaller proportions. BMW already has an upcoming X1, the X3, X5 and X6. No details about engines or transmissions has been announced, but expect some kind of Inline 6, more likely than not with a turbocharger.
Corner Carvers is the sort of internet forum where car setup and sanctioned, timed driving events dominate the conversation, rather than the usual forum drivel about street racing, JDM parts and insulting female family members.
But even the best slip up at times, and Corner Carvers has found itself at the center of attention when a Nissan executive joined their 49 page GTR thread and began spouting off his own opinions on the drivers “appalling” behavior behind the wheel, the car itself (“Frankly, it really isn’t overall my ideal in a sports car either (too heavy & complex) but it’s impressive nonetheless”) and sporadic insults directed at posters who questioned his credibility.
It turns out the poster, a man named Chip Goetzinger of Nashville, Tennessee, lists his occupation as “Technical Assistant to the Chairman of the Americas, Nissan.” Nissan confirmed to Jalopnik that someone of the same name works at their office, but there has been no official confirmation that the poster is an employee of Nissan North America.
As far as internet flame wars go, this is extremely tame, as no four-letter words or racial/ethnic/gender/sexual orientation-related insuts have been bandied abut. But the fact that the poster is supposedly a Nissan executive, and he was speaking about his employer in a negative light, strikes us as monumentally stupid.
[Source: Corner Carvers via Jalopnik]
Yesterday, AutoGuide brought you an in-depth look at the “swangas” scene in Houston. Today, we’re going in the complete opposite direction, all the way over to Seattle, Washington, where a white rapper named Grynch has just dropped a track all about his Volvo.
The car in question is a 1986 Volvo 240DL. Not the turbo, 4-speed manual “turbo brick” that enthusiasts covet, just a regular old Volvo wagon. Volvos are deeply uncool in the hip-hop world. Kanye West once rapped about how he spent his newfound fortune by stating “I bought my whole family whips, no Volvos.” You know you have a bit of an image problem when one of pop culture’s tastemakers disses your product on a #1 hit single.
Good thing that “My Volvo” is a catchy, light-hearted song that could easily cross over to Top 40 radio. Grynch doesn’t have a big profile yet, but after performing with some of the biggest names in hip-hop at this years SXSW music festival, “My Volvo” should give him the push he deserves to cross over into the mainstream. “Tank on empty, whippin my Volvo” should by all rights become a classic lyric in the hip-hop canon. Hip-hop’s biggest market is suburban white kids, which also neatly overlaps with Volvo’s main demographic.
See the video after the jump:
The engineers at MTM are self-crazed Audi fanatics. Even though they tune other lines of automobiles including VW, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, KTM, Spyker and Porsche, their roots date back to the early days of Audi quattro technology. The founder of the company was actually an engineer on the team developing the famed Audi five-cylinder in-line engine and in 1990 he founded MTM which stands for Motoren Technik Mayer.
While they’re not the most popular brand in North America for Audi tuning, compared to say, APR, there’s no denying their tuning prowess and success with their products. Their newest release is the MTM RS6 Clubsport which develops a whopping 730-hp and close to 580 ft-lbs of torque out of the 5.0L V10 Biturbo engine. This is quite the impressive upgrade from the factory 580-hp and 480 ft-lbs.
With these performance figures, the Audi RS6 now blasts the quarter mile at 12.6 @ 124 mph while hitting 0-60 in a mere 4.1 seconds. This is all achieved thanks to an ECU upgrade, air filter and exhaust system. Chances are the bulk of the power is made through the ECU, increasing the boost and ensuring the fuel curve keeps the motor nice and fed. Don’t look past the simple bolt-ons though; a properly tuned intake and exhaust on a V10 really frees up breathing space.
MTM also offers plenty of aesthetic upgrades on the RS6 with a set of 21-inch MTM Bimoto wheels for rollers, a carbon fiber diffuser for the rear and matching carbon fiber front lip spoiler. Suspension-wise, the RS6 can be lowered with a set of MTM individually adjustable springs.
All this power means more safety and with all MTM Clubsport models, this is a track-ready machine with a roll cage, six-point harness and carbon Recaro Pole Position seats.
Sadly the RS6 isn’t offered on this side of the Atlantic, so we’ll have to wait and see what MTM has in store for the S6, supercharged S4 and naturally aspirated S5.
GALLERY: MTM Audi RS6 Clubsport
Anyone who races a Honda Civic, Volkswagen GTI or other high performance front drive car is familiar with lifting the inside wheel when cornering hard. But these Fiat 500 racers take front-wheel drive handling dynamics to a new level.
The video in question, taken at the Oulton Park circuit, shows how dangerous oversteer can be. While the oversteer wasn’t exactly the desired effect, something like that can be recovered. From looking at the video, it appears the driver wasn’t able to exit the corner properly (watch his front wheels at about 8 seconds in and you’ll see the front wheels go straight for just a second), and headed straight for the curbing, launching him up on two wheels.
Admittedly, the video is a cool example of motorsport heroics, but stunts like this do not win races. See for yourself after the jump.
As we reported two weeks ago, GST Motorsports set a new Super Lap Battle record around Firebird’s main racing circuit. Well, the boys from Hayward, California have done it again, this time setting a new Redline Time Attack lap record at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s outside road course, posting a best time of 1-minute 39.657 seconds.
“The entire GST Motorsports crew worked very hard to provide me with a capable car,” said The G-STig, the mysterious and anonymous driver of GST’s famous Time Attack Subaru Impreza L, rumored to be famed Japanese Time Attack driver Tarzan Yamada. “The car ran very well for me all weekend and all the changes we have been working on are keeping us moving in the right direct. I only wish we were able to run the car on a clean track at full power to show everyone just how well it’s coming together”
Mike Warfield, owner and engine tuner of GST Motorsports, had this to say about their accomplishment in Vegas. “Given the limited seat time we have been able to give our driver to date and some of the major changes we have made to the chassis I am extremely happy with the teams progress thus far and really look forward to the next event where we hope to be able to turn up the wick considerably. To take the win here this weekend with so much more left on the table really gives us something to look forward to.”
In fact, GST’s amazing Impreza ran a 1:38.1 during qualifying earlier in the day, and in-car data suggests a 1:36.8 was well within grasp had track conditions not deteriorated during the final so-called Super Session.
For in-car video evidence of GST’s flying 1:38.1 qualifying lap, check out the video after the jump.
[Source: GST Motorsports]
No, somebody’s mother didn’t take her Halloween costume a little too far. The Bavarian Police, presumably unaware of the correlation between shopping bags and the BMW X3, are testing a version of the soft roader for highway duty.
The model in question is the X3 xDrive30d — complete with a stonking 218 horsepower six-cylinder diesel engine. Aside from that incredible powerplant, the X3 is adorned with enough LED lights to make an Audi jealous. From its hidden lights in the front bumper, to the rear hatch light show, you’d see this Bavarian cream puff a mile away.
Which is probably the point. That said, the last time we were on the autobahn, we were averaging just under 120 mph — in a diesel MINI — with half the horsepower. Maybe that weakling patrol car X3 isn’t so useless after all…
GALLERY: BMW X3 Police Cruiser
And here we thought our Nintendo NES (yes, the gray original one) was the best gaming system since sliced bread. Actually, this author one of the few people to have completely finished Gran Turismo 4…like three years ago. Heck, the Nissan GT-R was still a concept back then!
That GT5 has been such a wait is no surprise. But news that the latest will have support for 3D televisions makes us want to, um, cry. See, it’ll look amazing and everything, but we were happy with RC Pro-Am on our NES. We never even bought a steering wheel for our Playstation, but now we have to buy 3D glasses?
So much for impressing dates.
That said, even if you don’t have a 3D TV — or don’t plan on buying one — the new Gran Turismo has hundreds of cars, models from Ferrari and Lamborghini, and tracks from around the world (including our favourite, Tsukuba.) If the closest race track is too far away, this new sim may be the next best thing.
Click over the jump to watch the interview where 3D is confirmed.
Small cars and Mazdas are very popular in Canada. The Mazda3 is constantly battling with the Honda Civic for the title of “Best Selling Car,, and models like the Mazda5 and RX-8 are seen far more frequently in the Great White North than the United States.
With that said, Canada is naturally a very important market for the Mazda2 subcompact, and to commemorate the release of their new hatchback, Mazda is offering the Yozora special edition. Featuring black paint, big alloy wheels (with a snow tire package for good measure), chrome tailpipe, rear spoiler and a graphics package with the numeral “2″ motif splashed all over the front fenders, the Yozora is a little peculiar looking at first glance.
Dig a little further in the press release, and you’ll find a couple interesting nuggets. First is that the Yozora is based on the “entry-level” GX model. Second is that the new rims come shod with Toyo Proxes T1R tires, which are some pretty serious rubber. The base Mazda2 is likely to come with some kind of low-end tire biased towards comfort and low road noise, so the Yozora should be a hoot to drive. If Mazda takes a cue from Porsche and offers a no charge graphics delete option (like the 911 GT3 RS), we’ll be even happier.
GALLERY: Mazda2 Yozora Edition
Press release after the jump:
MINI has already made it clear that it will offer two diesel engines in the Countryman crossover, but has been remarkably quiet on just what those engines will be and how much power they will make. At launch, it was revealed that the entry-level One D Countryman would get 90-hp. Now, however, thanks to the folks at BigBlogg, we have confirmation of the larger and more powerful Countryman diesel model.
Several photos taken by BigBlogg show what appears to be the engine bay of the MINI Cooper D Countryman, with a 2.0-liter BMW motor. This same engine is found in the BMW 316, and there it makes roughly 115-hp and 192 ft-lbs of torque. Plus, on the European test cycle, the 316 gets 60 mpg combined.
There’s little chance either diesel engine will be offered in the U.S. and there’s less of a chance that they’ll be missed here. Still, the team at Motoringfile says news of a more efficient MINI model is expected soon.
[Source: BigBlog via MotoringFile]
It’s been a close on a year since we last hear about the upcoming Buick compact crossover, but now new info has surfaced, as well as a confirmation by Buick of the Chevy Cruze-based compact luxury sport sedan. According to a report by Car & Driver, the baby Enclave will not be based on the same platform as the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain.
Instead, it is likely to share the same underpinnings as the Chevy Cruze, which Buick has also confirmed will be used to build an entry-level sport sedan, slotting in underneath the new Regal. This new Buick sedan will get unique styling, a different powertrain and an all-new name. While C&D wasn’t able to squeeze any more info out of the Buick execs, we’ve heard reports that the new sedan will either be called the Excelle (which it will be called in China) or rebadged as the Verano for North America. Originally it was though the base engine would be the same one found in the Cruze (a 1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec motor with 138-hp), but with this report of a new powertrain, we’re more likely to see a larger 1.6-liter turbocharged motor (currently used in the Opel Astra Hatch) making 180-hp. Recent spy photos of an Excelle GT also raised speculation that the car might be offered in high-end GS trim when it arrive in the U.S. with the Regal’s 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making 220-hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque.
Currently Buick’s models only compete with 14 percent of the new-car market in the U.S., but Buick aims to increase that to 46 percent wit the introduce of this new compact sedan and crossover. I addition, Buick has more models in the works, slated for 2014 and 2015, which will increase the market penetration to 60 percent. We just hope it includes a rumored rear-drive coupe.
[Source: Car & Driver]
Ford has just released a new promo video for the new 5.0-liter Mustang GT, highlighting the car’s impressive new engine. In case you don’t know, the return of the 5.0 brings with it 412-hp at 6500 rpm and 390 ft-lbs of torque at 4250 rpm. This is due in part to the larger displacement, but also because of the DOHC 4-valve per cylinder, all aluminum construction with Ti-VCT variable independent timing on both the intake and exhaust cams.
As though all this weren’t enough, the new 2011 Mustang also gets a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic. This allows for both improved performance and fuel economy with Ford claiming a four to five percent increase in that department for an estimated 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, up from 17/23 mpg rating on the 2010 GT automatic model. Manual transmission models will get 18/25 mpg rating (city/highway).
But enough about the stats, check out the video after the jump and be sure to read our 2011 Mustang GT Review here.
Happy No Phone Zone Day! When Oprah Winfrey talks, people listen. Now, Oprah is telling you to shut up – well, at least while you’re driving. The talk show diva has partnered with the Governors Highway Safety Association and a variety of other agencies to get the message out about distracted driving.
On a special live show airing today (April 30), she’ll be dedicating the hour to the dangers of driving and cell phone use. It might not be the sexiest of topics, but it’s an important one, especially since many provinces and states have passed cell phone laws that penalize drivers using hand-held mobile phones and devises.
The show is promoting a new awareness campaign called “No Phone Zone,” which cautions drivers not to talk or text on their mobile devices while driving. During this special episode, Oprah will interview the families of victims of distracted driving collisions, as well as government officials, advocacy organizations, parents, youth, and law enforcement officers to discuss best practices and steps to limit distracted driving. The hour-long Oprah Winfrey Show will also host viewing rallies in cities across the US, including Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
After pulling from the series in 1992, BMW has announced a tentative return to the DTM touring-car series in 2012. BMW is planning to build a new race car based on the current M3 – which would ideally also be able to run in Japan’s Super GT series and the American Grand-Am series.
The BMW race car must meet certain unspecified regulations and if it does so, will see BMW take on German rivals Audi and Mercedes – which are currently the only two manufacturers in the series. Back in 1992, BMW pulled out of the DTM series due to a dispute over its E36 3-Series race car. Before that, BMW won the DTM Championship three times, once in 1987 and once in 1989 with the original E30 3 Series and once back in 1984 with the 635CSi.
BMW board member Dr. Klaus Draeger commented that with the withdrawal from Formula One, BMW has decided to make an increased presence in road racing. “BMW sports and touring cars have achieved success right around the world, and have significantly influenced the brand’s sporting profile right from the word go. For that reason, we see it as a consistent step to return to our roots after bidding farewell to Formula One, and to expand our commitment to this discipline.”
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen commented that the M3 GT2 (above) currently used in several series (including the American Le Mans Series) will continue to be the focus on the BMW motorsports program next year.
Official release after the jump:
Lexus has resumed selling its awesome drift-wagon full-sized GX460 SUV, with a new software update for the stability control system. The “stop-sale” order was given after Consumers Reports magazine deemed the GX460 unsafe and put it on the magazines “Do Not Buy” list, after the GX460 oversteered during Consumer Reports’ “Throttle Lift Test.”
Astute readers will know that if you throw any car into a corner at a brisk pace and lift off the gas, you will get some heroic oversteer. An SUV with a big V8 and a high center of gravity is no exception to this rule. It’s impossible to know the full story behind the scandal, but GX460 owners should breathe easier now than an official fix has been released.
Official release after the jump:
Mark this one under “you don’t say.” With a total of 11,000 pre-orders for its Leaf electric car, Nissan is predicting that demand for the Leaf will outstrip supply. Those 11,000 orders are for the U.S. and Japan only, and pre-orders for Canada and Europe haven’t even begun. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine that the “early-adopter” technology enthusiast types are eager to get their hands on the first truly mass-market electric vehicle, but with gas prices constantly threatening to skyrocket, the practical plug-in is turning into an attractive proposition for more and more drivers.
One interesting component of the pre-order program is Nissan’s way of qualifying buyers by asking them for information on topics like how far they drive each day. Apparently, Nissan will direct buyers who don’t fit the Leaf’s criteria to other Nissan vehicles, an interesting but risky way of managing expectations for their new EV. Any bad press at launch time could be disastrous for Nissan, and in a nation that fell all over the “runaway Prius” story, a media fiasco is something Nissan would love to avoid as they launch one of the most important vehicles of the decade.
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Ok, so this is an ad. Obviously. And if you’re watching it, you might just be the sort of sucker for clever marketing that Volkswagen is hoping you are, which means they’d also like you to sign up to follow the company’s latest character, Sluggy Patterson, on Twitter.
How is this news? First, we love a good game of Punch Buggy. Second, we think it’s the first time an automotive company has made an ad featuring violence caused by the brand. Third, it’s sort of funny.
While we can’t say we have anyone in our immediate family who acts like Sluggy, we can certainly relate — which is just what Deutsch, Volkswagen’s new ad agency, is hoping to capitalize on.
Audi has yet to import their bonkers TT-RS to North America, and the odds that it will make it over here are about the same as the Kansas City Royals winning the World Series. The 335 horsepower five-cylinder is enticing, but the $66,000 price tag is sure to put a lot of prospective buyers off.
For those who don’t feel like dropping that much money on a TT, Audi will have the same powerplant tucked into a much more practical package, in the form of a five-door A3 hatchback. The RS3, as its sure to be known, will get the five-banger, a revised fascia as well as bigger brakes. Nothing has been revealed about the chassis tuning, but you can equally be sure that some new suspension bits will be included as well.
The A3 hasn’t been a rousing success in North America, but a fast version would go a long way to lift the cars profile among the public. The only question is, will anyone be willing to fork over what is sure to be a hefty price tag for a 350 horsepower hatchback?
Recently spy photogs caught the upcoming TT-RS testing on Germany’s famed Nürburgring. See the link below for the pics:
[Source: Left Lane News]
Apparently owning an AMG Mercedes-Benz has more perks than just driving the vehicle. Those owners who pilot AMG vehicles have access to the AMG Private Lounge online where they get access to insider AMG news, connect with other AMG owners and explore the general world of AMG.
One of those lucky AMG Lounge members came across this sweet bright orange E63 AMG that sports some classy carbon fiber accents and flat black wheels. From what we can gather, this one-off E63 W212 was built by AMG Performance Studio, which is a division of AMG, specializing in appealing to the needs of their special customers. So for those seeking beyond the standard AMG packages, AMG Performance Studio will customize anything you can ask for with AMG quality – from paint to interior customization to new audio.
We don’t have a ton of specs on this car unfortunately, but hopefully the lucky owner of this E63 will surface on one of the many Mercedes forums. But we have to admit, this is one hot E63 AMG and the color is absolutely gorgeous on a sporty, classy, luxury vehicle.
[Source: Automotive Addicts]
GALLERY: AMG Performance Studio Mercedes-Benz E63 W212 AMG
K-Pop, Kimchi, and…Camaro? From 2011, Korean customers will be able to pick up a slice of Americana like the Camaro, alongside more conventional Chevrolet offerings.
The announcement was made at the Busan International Motor Show, by GM Daewoo Auto & Technology President Mike Arcamone.
“According to our market research, half of all Koreans are familiar with the brand and more than 80 percent are aware of Chevrolet’s distinctive logo,” said Arcamone. “This is indicative of the positive brand image that already exists among consumers in Korea toward Chevrolet. We see tremendous upside with its introduction.”
Chevrolet vehicles will be sold alongside GM Daewoo offerings, and Chevrolet will not be replacing the Korean Daewoo brand.
It may seem like a strange fit, but the country has taken to an earlier American pastime – baseball — becoming one of the leading nations in talent. Baseball is the country’s largest spectator sport, so we don’t think it’ll be strange if Koreans start coveting muscle cars.