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.
That was exactly the question being posed at the Historic Racing Forum, hosted by the Credit Suisse Drives’ Club, ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix de Monaco Historique.
Talk about a cultural divide. While the Fiat 500 struggles to find customers on this side of the Atlantic, in Europe it’s a different story. Over there, the car is a celebrated icon and the original “Cinquecento” was largely responsible for putting Italy on wheels following World War II.
That update will occur in Japan, we might add, but these days with increasing pressure on automakers to reduce fuel consumption and emissions output, plus an increasing need to standardize powertrains and features around the globe, there’s probably a chance we’ll see similar changes to our Legacy and Outback down the road.
At the Beijing Motor Show, Honda revealed two further concept models, which are said by the company to hint at the brand’s future design direction. The first is called the Concept C, with the letter referring to (and we’re not making this up) “Cool,” “Challenge” and “China.”
Looking a bit like an update of the Acura TL, the Concept C is a four-door sedan with a bold grille and sculpted side flanks. It’s quite possibly the most adventurous styling exercise we’ve yet seen on a Honda four-door, concept or production.
Given that we seem to be living in an increasing wireless world (anybody remember TV remotes with cords?) it seems only natural that one of the next steps is for EV car charging to go wireless.
We’ve already had a glimpse of this, notable at this year’s New York Auto Show, where Infiniti’s LE concept incorporated such a system, which consists of two coils (one mounted in the vehicle, the other in a pad on the garage floor) which create a magnetic field that stimulates the flow of electric current from the floor to the car).
It’s called “Super Cruise” and is essentially a semi-autonomous technology that enables a vehicle to incorporate fully automatic steering, braking and lane centering under certain driving conditions. Furthermore, Cadillac says this technology could be ready for production by mid-decade.
Some of the fundamentals of this Super Cruise technology can already be found in existing Cadillac models, notably the 2013 XTS and ATS, as part of the Driver Assist Package. Notable features within this umbrella include adaptive cruise control at all speed ranges, lane departure warning, intelligent brake assist, automatic rear braking, automatic collision preparation and rear vision camera with dynamic guidelines.
Earlier this month we reported details of an upcoming AMG hot-rod version of the iconic G-Class SUV. Now, Mercedes‘ AMG division has given us official information on the thing, essentially confirming much of what we already knew.
The G63 AMG sports a 5.5-liter twin-turbo (or as Mercedes calls it Bi-Turbo) V8 cranking out 544 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque, teamed with the AMG Speed-Shift Plus seven-speed automatic transmission. If that isn’t enough, there’s always the option of stepping up to the even more powerful G65, which sports a 6.0-liter Bi-Turbo V12, rated at 612 hp and a monstrous 737 lb-ft of torque.
Taking your time and researching can reap big rewards when it comes to purchasing pre-owned vehicles.
To some, the very notion of purchasing a used car can send them running for the hills, but as with anything else, provided you do your homework, the vehicle you choose can save you thousands of dollars over that new one in the showroom, without proving to be a money pit.
Nissan’s radical, needle-nose DeltaWing prototype GT car has begun testing in Europe to give the team a handle on the race conditions expected at the car’s official debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 16/17.
Although initial testing was conducted in the U.S., none of it included situations on rain soaked circuits, apart from a simulated test at Sebring where a water truck was brought in.
Insiders at the Ingolstadt automaker say Audi is planning to launch its smallest SUV yet, the Q2, which will slot in below the Q3 (shown above).
Said to utilize the same architecture that will also underpin the next generation A3, it’s believed we’ll see a concept version debut within a year and likely a production model will follow within 18 months of that.
In terms of configuration, the Q2 is expected to be a strict four-seater with a swoopy roof profile (think along the lines of a baby BMW X6) and targeted as a lifestyle machine, with limited off-road capability and primarily front-drive.
However, taking a cue from the Mini Crossman, insiders say Audi plans to offer a range of personalization options for the Q2, such as roof and mirror cap colours, interior panels and even the seats and steering wheel.
Given that Audi seems bent on filling just about every automotive niche it can, some have been asking whether or not we’ll see a Q4 as well, especially considering a Q6 is likely already on its way. Yet one source said, perhaps surprisingly that a Q4 isn’t likely to materialize.
“In higher levels of pricing, it makes sense to have a lower-volume niche machine like the Q6, but it can’t be justified in the lower segment,” the source declared.
With high oil prices upon us once again, automakers are looking to new sources of materials when it comes to vehicle component manufacture.
In Ford‘s case, we’ve seen developments like soybeans used in seat covers, recycled denim jeans for sound deadening, even wheat straw for plastic bins and Kenaf (a tropical, cotton derived plant) used for interior door panels.
Given how a number of states have been following California’s lead in recent years, including the likes of Maryland, New Jersey and New York, there’s a distinct possibility we could see the expansion of zealous zero emissions requirements.
Recently, the California Air Resources Board approved a measure that requires some 15.4 percent of all vehicles sold in the Golden State to be Zero emissions compliant by 2025 (in other words be plug-in hybrids, pure EVs or fuel-cell machines).
California’s zero emissions mandate was first introduced in 1990, though in recent years, the standards have been significantly tightened. For automakers, the issue presents a bit of a dilema, especially if other states choose to follow California’s ruling.
As it stands, buyers haven’t exactly warmed up to the idea of plug-in hybrids or pure EVs, despite the media hype they generate. Currently, sales represent just 0.1 percent of the entire US vehicle market.
Consequently, there are concerns within the auto industry that given the sluggish demand, sales of zero emissions vehicles won’t grow fast enough to meet the mandated targets, meaning that automakers could risk facing hefty fines. Bailey Wood, director of legislative affairs for the National Automobile Dealer’s Association, believes the requirements could result in a very tough market for dealers to do business, because it would require stocking more models that aren’t popular with buyers. “Already, dealers have to accept less popular vehicles to get the ones they want,” he stated. “With the [zero-emission vehicle] mandate, it will be even worse.”
That said, David Clegern, speaking on behalf of CARB, says that the new ZEV regulations were conceived with flexibility in mind, meaning that should an automaker struggle to hit the required sales targets for such vehicles in one state, it has the option of shipping them to another without incurring penalties. In addition, those manufacturers that exceed federal rules can earn credits which they can apply to state regulations, with sales of gasoline-electric hybrids being eligible for such credits, at least initially.
However, with sales of even gas-electric hybrids currently remaining flat (at around 3 percent of all US vehicle demand) and fuel cell cars and trucks still showing little sign of becoming available within the next few years, meeting these tough ZEV targets is going to prove challenging at best.
[Source: Automotive News]
Porsche‘s announcement that a Cayenne Diesel will finally be available to U.S. buyers was fairly big news at this year’s New York Auto Show. However, we’ve now learned that the Stuttgart automaker plans to introduce a more powerful oil burning SUV, a V8 diesel Cayenne S.
Details are still rather sketchy on exactly which engine it will use. While the existing V8 diesel used by Audi for its A8 flagship might seem the most logical choice, it’s getting on in years and with looming tighter emissions standards in Europe it probably won’t make the cut.
According to a recent government study, the average American family now spends more a year on transportation than food. While higher gas prices are a significant factor, the study also says a big part of the problem lies with traffic congestion (which wastes a whopping $1.9 billion per year).
Furthermore, a lack of adequate public transportation in many areas and a crumbling infrastructure of roads, bridges and tunnels is making the situation worse.
Given that many municipalities have seen their budgets cut in recent years and with the cost of new construction projects and public transportation initiatives, plus a current lack of enthusiasm among voters for supporting them (raising taxes to fund such projects is essentially the only choice), it is unlikely we’ll see any improvements to the situation soon.
Sounds too good to be true? Well if you’re a racer the news is probably music to your ears. Recognizing how popular the Civic Si has become in motorsport circles, particularly road racing, Honda Racing displayed a 2012 body-in-white Civic Si at SEMA last year and is now offering them up for $3500 a piece.
Following on from a practice used by other automakers, the body-in-white program is available exclusively to bona fide racers, and enables them to get a basic shell along with suspension, differential, brakes and a toe strap. It’s then up to them to add the rest such as the engine, gearbox, roll cage, instruments, seat, harness and other necessary equipment.
Have you always wanted a muscle car or exotic but budget and necessity mean you end up driving a compact or minivan? Well, 2XL Games has a solution, namely in its XLR8 smart phone app.
By downloading it your smart phone, XLR8, reproduces the sounds your vehicle’s engine makes under acceleration, cornering and braking but with a twist. Instead of a buzzy four cylinder, the exhaust note sounds like a muscular V8 running a high-lift cam and open exhaust, perfectly matched to your car’s acceleration, cornering and braking.
It does this via accelerometers and a GPS system inside your iPhone, Android or other portable device. By hooking up the phone to your vehicle’s sound system in much the same way as a MP3, simply choose the app and press the button.
It seems we’re all becoming a little more fuel conscious these days and that includes the military. While in the past, heavy battle tanks and armored carriers that did eight gallons to the mile were deemed acceptable, that’s apparently no longer the case.
As the 21st century unfolds, even the military (which in 2008 consumed about 1.5 percent of all oil in the U.S.), is looking to more fuel efficient solutions when it comes to vehicle design and development.
Helping its cause will be a brand new, state-of-the-art Ground Systems Power and Energy laboratory complex in Warren, Mich. that will be operated by the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). The opening of the labs creates some 150 new job positions, in addition to the 1,500 souls already employed by TARDEC, which primarily consist of engineers, researchers and scientists.
This week, Federal and Michigan State officials announced the grand opening of the new lab complex which covers some 30,000 square feet, something that many consider to be well timed. That’s especially true as military presence is scaled back in the Great Lake State with planned cuts at a number of facilities including the large Selfridge Air National Guard base located between Metro Detroit and Port Huron.
John Wray, a TARDEC spokesman, said hiring for the new lab positions will be incremental, while also mentioning that introducing more fuel efficient vehicles, including those with hybrid propulsion, can save lives. “For every one percent improvement in fuel efficiency, the need for 6,444 solider fuel trips is eliminated,” he said.
[Source: The Detroit News]
When it comes to pure electric cars, range anxiety is never far from the conversation. Indeed, here at AutoGuide, we’ve had a number of experiences when cars almost ran out of juice, including the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i.
In the Leaf’s case, getting the car from to and from the AutoGuide office proved to be somewhat unnerving, given the 40-mile distance from house to office alone.
And we’re not alone, anybody driving more than a 30 mile round trip each day is likely to face a similar scenario (Nissan says the car has a range of about 70 miles in real world driving before requiring a charge).
A decade ago, General Motors announced a limited run off of 2002 Chevy Monte Carlo coupes. Know as the SS “Intimidator,” these cars were built as a tribute to the late, great NASCAR legend Dale Earhardt.
Given their limited production and unique trim and color scheme, these cars have become quite prized in certain circles, notably among NASCAR fans and even car collectors. Now one of these cars, in much the same condition as when it first rolled off the line, is being sold for a worthy cause.
It will be auctioned off at the spring Toronto Classic Car Auction with part of the proceeds being donated to a local hospital to help fund a new urgent care unit.