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.
Our intrepid spy photographers are at it again, catching the Mercedes-Benz A-Class undergoing winter testing in an undisclosed Northern country.
The new car looks to be a radical departure from past versions, ditching the goofy tall-wagon look for something much more akin to an Audi A3. This further differentiates it from the smaller, though visually similar B-Class, which will retain the “MPV” bodystyle so popular in Europe.
The A-Class will be powered by a range of small 4-cylinder engines, but we don’t have many specifics on technical details. Expect the car to bow at March’s Geneva Auto Show.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Kanye West once rapped that the Mercedes G550 was “his favorite toy”, but West, along with other rappers and oil shieks, will be sorely disappointed to learn that the new AMG versions expected to debut will make their lowly G550 look dated.
The G55 will get an updated twin-turbo 525-horsepower 5.5L V8, similar to other Mercedes AMG cars, to replace its supercharged V8. A mild facelift will also follow. But what’s really making news is the rumored G65, which should come with a twin-turbocharged V12 engine and a pricetag of $327,000. The V12 will put out 612 horsepower and roughly 738 lb-ft of torque. The excessive price tag and power figures are in play thanks to an ultra-exclusive run of only 250 cars.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz G55 and G65 AMG
Kelly Blue Book Released their list of the 20 most researched vehicles and three of the top five spots belong the Honda products. The Civic and Accord placed first and second respectively, with the Toyota Camry in third, the Honda CR-V in fourth and the Ford F-150 in fifth.
The Hyundai Sonata and Elantra placed sixth and seventh respectively, with the Elantra cracking the top 20 for the first time. The top five brands overall were Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chevrolet and Hyundai, with the Toyota Prius as the sole hybrid on the list. Check out the full list below, after the jump.
Mercedes‘ flagship SLS AMG Black Series was spied, and reports say that the new car will make 650 horsepower out of its 6.2L V8, one heavily revised by Mercedes’ AMG division.
Revised bodywork and new wheels will also be included, but you’ll pay dearly – expect the Black Series to start at $338,000 according to exchange rates.
Check out the video here
[Source: GT Spirit]
BMW’s newest M3 sedan was caught testing, and the wide fenders were a dead giveaway for our photographers. Check out the pictures below.
We wish we had more info about powertrains and the like but your guess is as good as ours. In all likelihood, the big, high-revving V8 will take a bow in favor of a turbocharged inline six. We’ve heard crazy rumors of a tri-turbo I6 in the past, but we’ll probably see something like the 1M’s I6 make an appearance – that is, a massaged version of the N54 twin-turbo I6 used in the 335i, albeit with a lot of power. Lighter weight will also play a part, helping to reduce the need for big power numbers.
Gallery: BMW M3 Sedan
With a new 429-horsepower twin-turbo V8 and a 308 lb weight reduction, the Mercedes-Benz SL finally has the looks to match its epic grunt, as these official pictures show.
Borrowing cues from the Mercedes-Benz SLS, the new SL will serve as the softer, but still very quick sports coupe in the Benz lineup, while deploying new technologies like Magic Vision Control (a novel new windshield wiper system) and a composite aluminum body structure.
Gallery: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL
Lexus will reveal a new concept car at the 2012 North American International Auto Show…and that’s all we know. Lexus sent a brief press release, two sentences in length, stating “Lexus will unveil a new concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 9, 2012. Designed by Calty, the company’s design studio in Newport Beach, Calif., the concept showcases the new design direction embraced by Lexus.”
No other details were given, so you’ll have to wait another few weeks to get any kind of info on the car. Real smooth, Lexus.
Nissan is recalling 118,000 Juke crossovers world wide due to a pair of defects that could pose problems for owners. Nissan says that the door locks could freeze in cold-weather, presenting an annoying problem for owners in cold climates. In addition, a boost pressure sensor on the turbocharger may malfunction, causing a check engine light to appear.
Both issues aren’t exactly critical, but definitely could be annoying for affected owners. Nissan also said that the issues were regional, with Japan, North America and certain European countries affected by the door lock issue. Virtually every continent save for Australia is affected by the turbocharger issue. Nearly every Juke sold worldwide – 118,000 in total, will have to have something fixed.
The slow-selling Fiat 500 hit another snag after NHTSA gave the compact car a three-star crash test rating, a dismal score in an era where five-star ratings are practically ubiquitous.
While the 500 got four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests, the side impact result was a poor two stars. Only the now-dead Dodge Caliber and the Ford Escape (set to be replaced after a decade in production) have achieved similar ratings. The 500′s fellow subcompact competitors like the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Chevrolet Sonic have yet to be crash tested.
The Fiat has been plagued by slow sales, with Chrysler reporting a 173-day supply for the vehicles, and three consecutive months of declining sales figures.
[Source: Automotive News]
After encountering 30 incidents involving cracked wheel studs and steel wheels separating from the vehicles, Ford will be recalling 128,616 2010 and 2011 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans to fix the issue.
An investigation by NHTSA led to the recall, though no injuries have been reported. Ford will notify owners of the affected vehicles, inspect them at dealerships and replace any components free of charge. Check out the official article below the jump for more information.
With Europe having a long history of taxing cars based on engine displacement, automakers have long dodged this levy by placing diminutive engines in even their largest vehicles.
Infiniti is hoping to get around this by following the same path, and starting in 2012, the Infiniti M will feature a pair of 4-cylinder engines borrowed from Mercedes-Benz; a 204 horsepower turbocharged 1.8 L, and a a 170 horsepower 2.1L turbodiesel. Both engines are from the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and will be some of the first technology sharing to come from the agreement signed by Mercedes-Benz and Nissan.
The vehicles are expected to be introduced at March’s Geneva Auto Show.
[Source: Left Lane News]
Lotus will offer the Exige in 2012 as a track-only car in America, despite killing off the street-legal Elise and Exige due to air bag laws and the discontinuation of the car’s 1.8L Toyota 4-cylinder motor.
The 2012 Exige for North America will be based on the Exige S and get a 3.5L supercharged V6 from the Evora making 345 horsepower. 60 mph comes up in 3.8 seconds and the car is good for a V-Max of 170 mph. Standard equipment should include a roll cage, harnesses, bucket seats, an electrical cut-off switch and other features that will make it legal for competition use.
The Exige is expected to carry a base price of around $85,000-$90,000, but we’ll have to wait for an official announcement from Lotus for more info.
[Source: DuPont Registry]
The Audi A3 was caught by our spy photographers undergoing winter testing in Sweden. Despite heavy camoflague, we already know what the next A3 will look like – look at any current Audi for clues to what the front and rear treatments will resemble.
The new A3 will come in three and five door variants (dubbed the Sportback) a convertible and interestingly, a sedan. Audi previewed the sedan at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show, and while the production version may not be as radical as the awesome looking concept (which packed a 408-horsepower 5-cylinder engine and a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox), the car will definitely be attractive, and pack a full suite of turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines, dual clutch gearboxes and all-wheel drive.
North America will definitely get the sedan, and likely the five-door hatch, but we may not get the 3-door or ragtop versions, as those have previously been the exclusive domain of world markets.
Gallery: Audi A3 Spy Shots
Ward’s Auto released their 10 Best Engines List for 2012 today, and no surprise here but direct-injection and turbocharging – the two big trends for today’s automotive era – are heavily represented.
The Ford Mustang Boss 302′s big 5.0L V8, with natural aspiration and good-old port injection managed to make the list, but pretty much everything else uses direct injection or turbocharging, while Chrysler’s Pentastar V6 took honors despite not having either of the two technologies.. Infiniti’s 3.5L V6 mated to a hybrid electric system was the sole hybrid.
Hit the jump below to see the full list
Amid news of an introduction for both the Cadillac ATS and Chevrolet Sonic RS at this year’s 2012 North American International Auto Show comes news of a third vehicle – a Buick crossover – that will also make its debut.
The crossover will reportedly be based on a platform that underpins the Opel Meriva (above) though it will ditch the minivan-look for a more traditional crossover bodystyle. The Meriva also shares a platform with the Chevrolet Sonic, though dimensions and powertrain choices have not been revealed. A small four-cylinder turbo with forced induction is a likely candidate. The Meriva is about 5 inches shorter than a Sonic, and it would be reasonable to expect GM to make the car larger to suit North American tastes.
[Source: Automotive News]
Geely will make their first foray into the notoriously tough British market in 2012, hoping to emulate the success of Korean brands like Hyundai.
While Geely already helps produce the iconic London taxis, the company will face an uphill battle regarding the vehicle’s perceived quality. Their first UK offering, the EC7 compact car, will cost 10,000 GBP (roughly $15,581 USD) and feature a five-year, 100,000 mile warranty.
Geely is looking to recruit 30 to 40 dealers and sell about 1,000 cars in 2013, with a new model added for the next 4 to 5 years. Geely will be based out of Coventry, where the office of Manganese Bronze Holdings’ London Taxi Company (its partner in London Taxi production) resides, but Geely will remain separate from its subsidiary Volvo Cars.
[Source: Automotive News]
The South Korean auto market has long been dominated by domestic automakers like Hyundai and Kia, but Toyota is planning to make a play by sending 6,000 American-built Camrys to South Korea.
Deliveries will begin starting in January, 2012. Toyota has been exporting the Sienna minivan since November, and also sells the Corolla, Prius and RAV4. Toyota is evidently looking to take advantage of a new free-trade agreement signed between the U.S. and South Korea, as well as take advantage of favorable exchange rates between Korea and the U.S.
Our big question is, with Korean cars (especially Camry competitors like the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima) so good noawadays, why would any Korean consumers even bother buying them.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
Mercedes-Benz GL has gone since 2006 without an update, and for the 2013 model year, Mercedes will finally be paying attention to their big three-row SUV.
While the diesel GL models will be largely carried over, M-B’s new line of turbocharged V8s and direct-injection V6s will make an appearance in the new model. Other changes will be largely cosmetic, with a new front and rear fascia being the most obvious details, as well as revised front and rear lights with a smattering of LEDs too.
Gallery: 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL
Dodge revealed teaser shots of their Dart compact car, designed to replace the wretched Caliber crossover, and so far it looks to be the first hit of Alfa Romeo-inspired product for North America.
Using the underpinings of the lovely Alfa Giulietta compact, the Dart will use a 1.4L turbocharged Fiat MultiAir engine – good for 168 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque while returning a reported 39 mpg. Other engines include a 2.0L and 2.4L “Tigershark” 4-cylinder, mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox. A 9-speed automatic is said to be available at a later date.
Other features include a dual exhaust and 4-wheel independent suspension. The Dart will be built at Chrysler’s Illinois plant, and will get a proper reveal at the 2012 North American International Auto Show.
GALLERY: 2013 Dodge Dart
Discuss this story at DartForums.com
Legendary racing outfit Newman/Haas is closing its doors after nearly 30 years in business, after the team failed to find sponsorship for the coming season.
Founded by Carl Haas and actor Paul Newman, the team had a solid record throughout its life – with 107 wins and 8 championships – but never managed to win an Indy 500 victory. Drivers like Nigel Mansell, Sebastian Bourdais, Mario Andretti and Paul Tracy were some of the top-name talent that drove for the team during its heyday.
With Newman’s death in 2008 and Haas reportedly ailing, the team’s closure seems inevitable, but does not bode well for the Indy Car series.
Mercedes-Benz is prepping an AMG version of their B-Class hot hatch, and while a front-drive tall wagon may not sound like ideal AMG material, we’re pretty jazzed about the rumored specs.
A turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 325-350 horsepower will be on board, as well a dual-clutch gearbox (with six or seven speeds). All-wheel drive will be needed to tame the prodigious power, as will bigger brakes, wider rubber and upgraded suspension tuning. Mercedes dealers have been asking for the B-Class as an entry-level product, but Mercedes hasn’t made a decision. On the other hand, the B-Class is already sold in Canada – which happens to be one of AMG’s biggest markets per capita in the world. So the hot B-Class could wind up making its way to the Great White North without ever heading to the USA.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz B-Class AMG
AutoGuide was on hand last night for the live reveal of the 2013 Scion FR-S in Los Angeles, where Scion showed off their version of the Toyobaru rear-drive, boxer-powered sports car.
The FR-S is mechanically identical to the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86, save for a few minor aesthetic changes. Scion was mum about pricing unfortunately, and that seems to be the last question hanging over everyone’s head.
Check out the video below for the live reveal.
Anyone who has seen Japanese car commercials knows they can be a bit odd, to say the least. The 1990′s were chock full of weird celebrity endorsments (Jodie Foster and the Honda Civic, anyone?) but the next trend to hit was having directors treat their ads like art house films – and it’s here to stay.
If this were an American ad, we’d probably have lurid shots of the Subaru BRZ in full opposite-lock mode, with a garbled voiceover detailing the terms and conditions of a special lease offer. But this is Japan, and instead we get slow, tight glimpses of the BRZ while the best in adult alternative EZ-rock plays on screen. Whatever. Hit the mute button and enjoy.
Hit the jump to see the Subaru BRZ commercial.
With Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi offering wagon versions of their E-Class, 5-Series and A6 mid-luxury sedans, Jaguar is prepping a wagon version of its XF sedan, and like modern Jaguar‘s, it will take a slightly different approach to the traditional luxury formula.
In the UK, a “Shooting Brake” denotes a sports car converted into a wagon-like vehicle. Some were converted solely to meet the whims of wealthy owners, while others were used to hold hunting gear and other sporting equipment, giving the owner the best of both worlds. The XF Sportbrake will likely take after this tradition, placing an emphasis on style rather than practicality (in the same way that the 5-Series and A6 do, rather than the E-Class with its focus on cargo capacity).
A full engine lineup, ranging from the XF’s ultra-efficient 2.2L diesel engine, up to the 5.0L V8, should be available. The XF will also get Jaguar’s upcoming AWD system, but what you won’t see is a Sportbrake sold in America.