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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.
 |  Nov 23 2010, 9:43 PM

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With the LA Auto Show now behind us, it’s time for a look back at the biggest cars of the show. And for those who can’t be there, what better way to check out all the action than in the wonderful medium of video.

This year’s LA Auto Show just so happens to coincide with a renewed fervor in the auto industry and it was evident from the sheer number of premieres. From the reintroduction of Fiat to the U.S., to the launch of incredible sports cars like the Porsche Cayman R or bizarre concepts like the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, AutoGuide’s video team was there to bring you the official unveilings in all their glitz and glamor.

Other major highlights include the debut of the Honda Fit EV Concept, 2012 Nissan GT-R, 2011 Hyundai Elantra, Buick Regal GS, Toyota/Tesla RAV4 EV, Nissan Ellure Concept, Mercedes CLS63, 2011 Dodge Charger, 2011 Dodge Challenger, Subaru Impreza Design Concept, Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Spyder Performante, Range Rover Evoque 5-Door and Ford Focus Race Car Concept.

Watch the extensive list of premieres after the jump and check out our 2010 LA Auto Show Coverage page for complete coverage.

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 |  Nov 21 2010, 9:50 PM

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After stealing the show in Paris a few months back, Lotus brought its “New Era” roadshow to America and the LA Auto Show. With five brand new concept vehicles, Lotus is looking to generate interest in the brand and its new direction.

Based on the same modular platform, Lotus revealed the Esprit, a second-generation Elise, the flagship Elite and even a 4-door model called Eterne.

First to market will be the Esprit, with an on-sale date set for the Spring of 2013. With a body made entirely of carbon fiber it will be a true exotic, using a supercharged version of the Lexus 5.0-liter V8 making 542-hp in standard trim and a whopping 612-hp in R-spec trim.

Following the Esprit will be the Elan, launching in the Fall of 2013 as a coupe, with a convertible model set to follow. As a competitor to the Porsche 911 it will use a 4.0-liter version of the Toyota-sourced V6 found in the Evora, the Elan will be 200-lbs lighter. An R-Spec model will also be offered, boasting 450-hp. Both it, and the Elise, will use a combination of aluminum and composite materials to keep weight to a minimum. In addition, Lotus will offer both the Esprit and the Elan as a hybrid.

The flagship for the new Lotus will follow six months later in the Spring of 2014, with a standard trim making 612-hp. A hybrid option will be offered and this grand touring exotic comes exclusively with a retractable hardtop.

Spring of 2015 will see the launch of the second-generation Lotus Elise. Gaining size and weight over the current car the new Elise will come in at under 2,400 lbs. Power will come from a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with forced induction (either a turbocharger or supercharger), making a total of 316-hp. That should be enough to deliver a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds. Plus, those in search of a fuel efficient sports car will be able to get it with the new Elise as Lotus also plans to offer a hybrid option. Unlike the rest of the hybrids in the Lotus lineup, the Elise will be a mild hybrid (like the Honda system) and feature start-stop technology.

Completing the new Lotus lineup is the Eterne 4-door sports sedan. Again, based on the same architecture, its designed as a rival to the likes of the Porsche Panamera and Maserati Quattroporte, but wont hit the market until the Fall of 2015.

The goal with the five concepts shown is to expand Lotus production and sell between 7,500 and 8,000 vehicles annually.

GALLERY: Lotus Esprit

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GALLERY: Lotus Elise Concept

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GALLERY: Lotus Elite

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GALLERY Lotus Elan

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GALLERY: Lotus Eterne

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 |  Nov 18 2010, 8:53 PM

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Rarely, if ever, does a mid-cycle refresh get the attention that it has with the new 2012 Nissan GT-R. But there’s a very good reason the GT-R is making headlines half way through its production cycle.

A lot is new about this updated version of Nissan’s Porsche killer, and what’s most important might be the changes under the hood. Thanks to a retuned ECU with more boost and some larger exhaust pipes the new GT-R makes an additional 45-hp, with the new total an impressive 530-hp. Torque is also up significantly by 54 ft-lbs, for a new total of 488 ft-lbs.

Major aerodynamic enhancements were also made – even if it doesn’t look like it. Thanks to a larger front opening as well as a new rear diffuser and underbody trays the drag coefficient has dropped from 0.27 to 0.26 cd to help the car slide through the air. Those same upgrades also result in a 10 percent improvement in downforce, which is sure to help out on the Nürburgring.

Helping to cut weight (the GT-R could use to loose a few pounds) are a new set of Rays wheels – with a 10-spoke design on the Premium Package and a 6-spoke look on a new Black Edition package.

Inside the 2012 model gets an improved interior and some carbon fiber on the dash – although Nissan still has some catching up to do with competitors like Porsche. A Black Edition might just solve any issues we have with the car thanks to red Recaro seats and a red and black interior.

A total of six exterior colors will be offered for 2012 including: Solid Red, Gun Metallic, Pearl White, a limited production Super Silver, Jet Black and our favorite Deep Blue Pearl.

Pricing for the 2012 model starts at $89,950 for the Premium model and jumps to $95,100 for the Black Edition.

Get more details after the jump and browse though our extensive galleries below:

GALLERY: 2012 Nissan GT-R Debut in LA

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GALLERY: 2012 Nissan GT-R

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Official release and video of the 2012 Nissan GT-R after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Nov 18 2010, 8:04 PM

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Okay, maybe we’re reaching a bit with these “debuts” but that’s how Infiniti is billing the American auto show unveiling of the new G25 sedan at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show today. Of course, we’ve seen this G25 before, but…it’s a perfectly fine looking sedan so we’ll humor them here a bit. As its name implies, the G25 is powered by a 2.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 that produces 218 horsepower and 187 lb-ft of torque. Pricing will start $30,950.

For $30,950, the G25 sedan scores you features like 17-inch wheels, xenon headlamps, leather seats, aluminum interior trim, power seats, and six-speaker stereo. The upscale Journey trim level adds a backup camera, heated front seats and dual zone climate control.

As a more affordable G sedan, the G25 will likely be a new volume seller for the brand, rivaling the likes of the Audi A4 2.0T and BMW 328i. We haven’t driven the car yet, but with the G37 arguably the best alternative to a 335i, we have high hopes for the Japanese sports sedan.

GALLERY: Infiniti G25

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Official release after the jump:

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 |  Nov 18 2010, 5:53 PM

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Infiniti brought out their new M35h, a hybrid version of the M sedan, packing a big V6 motor and the ability to hit 40 mpg on the highway. With 360 horsepower and a 7-speed automatic transmission, the M35h can get up to highway speed quickly, and can even cruise as fast as 62 mph on electric only power.

Fuel economy is only so-so.  With 25 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, it’s not far off from the V8 powered M56′s 27 mpg highway rating, but the big V8 only returns about 16 mpg around town. All the crazy tech features, like radar guided cruise control and a blindspot warning system, are present, as well as a pedestrian warning system for when the car is operating silently.

[Source: Nissan]

 |  Nov 18 2010, 5:45 PM

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After the car first broke cover in Euro-spec form at the Geneva Auto Show, Mazda has finally rolled out the second-generation of its Mazda5 model at the LA Auto Show. The car’s clever packaging has yet to catch on, which is surprising when it delivers as much space as a mid-size crossover and comes with a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine. Oh, and Mazda has always offered the 5 (based on a version of the Mazda3 platform) with a manual transmission – how very European!

For 2012 the all-new Mazda5 gets a more swoopy design, while the engine grows in size from 2.3-liters to 2.5-liters with a total of 157-hp and 163 ft-lbs of torque. A 5-speed automatic transmission is standard on most models, with a 6-speed manual the base transmission on the Sport trim.

Mazda says fuel economy is unchanged, despite the displacement increase.

In terms of safety, the 5 comes with stability control as well as a new Brake Override Feature.

For 2012 the Mazda5 will be offered in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels. Standard features on the Sport model include 16-inch alloy wheels, power windows and door locks, power mirrors, A/C, a 6-speaker audio system, tilt and telescopic steering, remote keyless entry, a driver’s one-touch up/down window, a 50/50 split 3rd row seat and steering wheel mounted audio and cruise controls. Touring models get the 5-speed automatic, 17-inch wheels, an aero kit with rear spoiler, fog lights, Bluetooth and a leather wrapped steering wheel. The top-level Grand Touring trim then gets a power moonroof, HID automatic on/off headlights, heated mirrors, rain sensing wiper, driver’s seat lumbar, heated front seats and leather throughout.

GALLERY: 2012 Mazda5

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Get even more details on all three trim levels after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Nov 18 2010, 5:20 PM

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Citing the company’s long history of affordable compact cars that are environmentally sustainable, Mitsubishi today launched the U.S.-spec version of the electric i-MiEV at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.

With some 4,000 i-MiEV models already on the road in different parts of the world, the car is now somewhat familiar, but the U.S. version has a few changes on the outside and underneath. The front fascia, in particular, has been reworked for U.S. standards, and Mitsubishi tells us this four-passenger car is intended to be the first salvo in the company’s push towards better overall emissions and consumption by 2020.

Power comes from a lithium-ion battery and electric motor that can be recharged in 16 hours from a conventional household outlet or 8 hours using a 220V outlet. A special 220V quick charger will, however, be able to charge up to 80 percent in just 30 minutes.

The other announcement today was that Mitsubishi has teamed up with Eaton to supply home recharging stations, and Best Buy to sell and install them. One last mention was the pricing, which will start at under $30,000 before any government incentives – or the optional graphics packages that will be available when the car hits showrooms next Fall.

Cars will hit dealers in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii in November of next year with larger scale sales at the end of 2012.

GALLERY: U.S.-Spec Mitsubishi i-MiEV

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 |  Nov 18 2010, 4:36 PM

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If your in the market for a new Corolla, the new A8 from Audi might not seem all that important, but to the German automaker it’s a crucial product for the U.S. market.

Audi is making huge sales strides here and built the new A8 to rival the very best from BMW and Mercedes. Again, the extended wheelbase “L” model might seem like a rare type of vehicle but in the U.S. it represents more than half all A8 sales. And after a look at the new car, debuting at the LA Auto Show today, it’s not hard to see why.

With a total length of 17.28 ft, the L is roughly 6-inches longer than the standard A8 – with all that space coming between the wheels to deliver half a foot extra in rear seat room. In that extra six-inches of space Audi has crammed the sort of luxury you might only expect on a yacht – and as much wood as a yacht too. The rear seats are heated and ventilated and can not only more forward and back, but also provide settings for cushion depth and seat back angle. And of course, there’s lumbar support and massagers built in. We particularly like the feature in the full-length center console that allows the rear seat passenger to push a button and have the front passenger seat move forward – making it easier to stretch out with the flip out ottoman and enjoy one of the two 10.2-inch LCD screens.

Other highlights include a fridge and folding table in the center console, as well as a 1,400-watt, 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System

Matching all that interior luxury is a suitable extravagant engine; displacing 6.3-liters and making 500-hp and 461 ft-lbs of torque. The W12 powerplant can accelerate the A8 L to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds.

Pricing for the A8 L starts at $84,000; a reasonable increase of just $6,000 over the standard wheelbase model.

GALLERY: Audi A8L

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 |  Nov 18 2010, 4:20 PM

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Poor Kia, always playing second fiddle to big brother Hyundai, including when it comes to Hybrids. Many months after the debut of the new Sonata Hybrid, the car’s twin, the new Kia Optima, now gets its own hybrid variant.

Using the same 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor and lithium-polymer battery, the combined output is 206-hp and 196 ft-lbs of torque. Fuel economy is projected to be 40-mpg on the highway says Kia, and if the package matches the Sonata Hybrid it will also get 36-mpg in the city. As a two-mode hybrid the system can operate on just electric power at up to 62 mph.

Unique to the hybrid model is a new front grille and 16-inch wheels, as well as headlights, fog lights, new front and rear lower bumpers and a rear spoiler.

Standard features include eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, dual zone climate control with rear vents, push-button start with smart key, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, automatic up/down on front windows, chrome interior door handles and a fixed rear seat with ski pass-through. An optional Premium Technology Package includes a panoramic sunroof, four-way power passenger seat, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, HID lights and a Nav system with 8-speaker infinity audio system.

Unique to the Optima Hybrid is a Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS), that plays an engine sound when in pure electric mode to notify pedestrians that the car is running.

Kia will also give the car an industry best 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.

Click Here to Read AutoGuide’s Review of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Click Here to Read AutoGuide’s Review of the 2011 Kia Optima

GALLERY: 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Debut in LA

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GALLERY: 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

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Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Nov 18 2010, 3:32 PM

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Every auto show brings a Scion debut of some sort, and while we don’t always get to see a new tC or some wild concept, you can count on something from Toyota’s youth brand.

Debuting at the LA Auto Show is the latest special edition of the popular xB model. Dubbed the xB Release Series 8.0 this Voodoo Blue box is the eighth special edition xB to be released – a hint at just how popular these limited edition cars are with the Scion crowd.

The Scion xB RS 8.0 comes with a four-piece bodykit designed by Kenstyle that adds some more aggression to the boxy shape. Also included in the package is a sunroof (with tilt and slide function not available on the current xB), as well as a a black fabric with blue highlights to match that exterior Voodoo Blue paint.

Just 2,000 xB Release Series 8.0 models will be built and priced from $18,405 with a stick shift or $19,355 with an auto-box. The rear spoiler can be had for an additional $320.

GALLERY: Scion xB RS 8.0

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 |  Nov 18 2010, 3:16 PM

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Buick‘s LA Auto Show press conference included the launch of two new vehicles that span the gamut from performance to fuel economy. Along with the new Regal GS performance mode, Buick also announced the introduction of the mild-hybrid LaCrosse – dubbed the LaCrosse eAssist.

Taking a page out of Honda’s playbook, the LaCrosse eAssist uses a relatively low-tech hybrid setup, combined with a rather advanced lithium-ion battery, to achieve 25-mpg city and 37-mpg on the highway. Those are very impressive numbers for a full-size luxury sedan.

This isn’t a two-mode hybrid system so the eAssist LaCrosse can’t operate on electric power alone, but it is a simple, compact and less expensive powertrain.

Using a 115-volt lithium ion battery and 15-kilowatt electric motor, the eAssist LaCrosse gets 25 percent better fuel economy, with an electric bump of 15-hp and 79 ft-lbs of torque helping out the 182-hp and 172 ft-lbs 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. The car also makes used of a 6-speed automatic transmission, rather than a CVT. Like Honda’s IMA setup, the eAssist uses regenerative braking and a start/stop system.

Additional upgrades are also used to bump-up fuel economy, namely added underbody panels to help make the car more aerodynamic, as well as shutters inside the front grille than can close of at highway speeds.

Inside the car gets funky hybrid dash that shows the operation of the hybrid system and an eco-meter to display how “green” your driving is. The system itself is light weight, tipping the scales at just 65 lbs and thanks to its compact size, there’s still a passthrough from the trunk to the rear seats.

All 4-cylinder 2012 LaCrosse models will get the eAssist technology standard, with pricing set to start at close to $30,000.

GALLERY: 2011 Buick LaCrosse eAssist

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 |  Nov 18 2010, 3:03 PM

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As promised, we now have plenty of photos to share with you of the new Ford Focus Race Car Concept, after its debut at the LA Auto Show.

Debuting alongside the high-performance Focus ST on which its based and sporting the same 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cylinder, Ford has designed the car to meet regulations on several continents, with its debut set for the 2011 British Touring Car Championship.

Ford says the car will meet regulations in the U.S. and it intends to offer the car to teams in the U.S. (likely to race in Grand AM and World Challenge), however, there are no existing plans for a factory backed team. (Unfortunately for the Focus, it’s not the Mustang and will, therefore, never get Ford’s full racing attention here in the U.S.)

The Focus race car gets an adjustable coilover suspension, Ford Racing sway bars, massive 320-millimeter front brakes with race pads and some ultra-sexy 18-inch wheels. Inside there are the usual goodies like a roll cage and Recaro racing seats.

“There has been tremendous interest from the racing world in the new Focus, and it’s the perfect fit for a global touring car,” said Jost Capito, director of Global Performance Vehicles and Motorsport Business Development. “Even more, by working with professional private race teams, we’re ensuring Focus has the support it needs to compete and win around the world.”

GALLERY: Ford Focus Race Car Concept

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 |  Nov 18 2010, 2:16 PM

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Hyundai has just added to the attractive qualities of its all-new 2011 Elantra sedan by announcing a new base price of $14,830. This is on top of the beautiful new exterior and the 40-mpg highway rating that Hyundai is promising for all models – not just special Eco models, like Chevy’s Cruze that cost a solid $4,000 more.

Powered by a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder the car makes 148-hp at 6500 rpm and 131 ft-lbs of torque at 4700 rpm. Using either a 6-speed manual or automatic the car will achieve 29-mpg city and 40-mpg highway for an average of 33-mpg.

Just two Elantra trim levels will be offered: GLS and Limited, with all models getting features like power windows with driver’s auto-down, remote keyless entry, 6 airbags and disk brakes at all corners. Limited models add items like fog lights, heated mirrors, a sunroof, 17-inch aluminum wheels (15-inch steel wheels are standard), leatherette door inserts, a leather-wrapped telescopic steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, heated leather front seats and even heated leather rear seats.

Thankfully Hyundai also offers a packages for the base GLS model including a Popular Equipment Package that adds cruise control, A/C, a telescopic steering wheel and 16-inch steel wheels. A Preferred Equipment Package adds on 16-inch alloy wheels, steering wheel audio controls, a Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition, a sliding center armrest and some upgraded interior trim. A Navigation package can also be had with a 7-inch monitor, while the Limited Premium Package includes items like a 360-watt audio system, as well as a “proximity key” and push-button ignition.

With the base model priced at $14,830 the popular GLS with the automatic transmission and Popular Equipment Package will run $17,080. The Limited is priced at $19,980; which rises to $21,980 for the Premium Package.

GALLERY: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Debut in LA

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See the official release with plenty of easy-to-read comparison charts of the new Elantra vs. competitors like the Cruze and Focus:

Continue Reading…

 |  Nov 18 2010, 1:34 PM

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Today at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, the group that hands out its Green Car of the Year award handed it over to Chevrolet for their Volt, which only made its official world premiere at the show the day before.

The Green Car of the Year is awarded by the Green Car Journal which uses an eleven-member panel to select the winner. The five finalists for 2010 were all 2011 models – the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, the Nissan Leaf battery electric car, the hybrid electric versions of the Hyundai Sonata and the Lincoln MKZ, and the straight-up gasoline-powered-but extremely thrifty Ford Fiesta, which achieves (40 miles per U.S. gallon (5.9 L/100 km; 48 mpg-imp) in highway driving.

Last year’s winner was the Audi A3 TDI.

GALLERY: Chevy Volt Debut at LA Auto Show

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 |  Nov 18 2010, 1:16 PM

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It’s been several months since Mazda first announced its new Shinari concept, but the car has finally made its world premiere at the LA Auto Show.

Looking even more stunning in person, the Shinari shows just how capable Mazda’s design team is. In fact, there’s enough talent over at Mazda that we’d politely request they share their creative skills with the rest of the industry.

The Shinari marks the start of Mazda’s new Kodo design language as it moves away from the past Nagare designs that can be seen on cars like the Mazda3.

A collaborative effort from Mazda’s design studios in the U.S., Germany and Japan, this new concept is set to inspire all future models by the brand.

A no-show at the Paris Auto Show, we finally had the chance to fully appreciate the car in LA and now you can too, thanks to our extensive gallery below.

GALLERY: Mazda Shinari Concept

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 |  Nov 18 2010, 9:35 AM

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After news leaked about Lamborghini‘s latest model yesterday, the Italian automaker has now officially revealed its new Gallardo LP570-4 Spyder Performante with plenty of new photos of the stunning beast. While it’s described as a more hard-core performance version of the LP560-4 Spyder, one could easily call it a convertible version of the Superleggera.

Like the Super-G, power has been increased by 10-hp for a total of 570-hp from the 5.2-liter V10 engine, while 398 ft-lbs of torque is available as of 6500 rpm. Lamborghini claims a 0-62 mph time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 201-mph.

More importantly, however, is the reduction in overall mass with a long list of carbon fiber components used to cut 140 lbs from the drop-top Lambo. Carbon fiber has been used for the bodywork including the rear spoiler, side skirts, rear diffuser, underbody paneling, mirror housings and especially for the large cover over the soft-top and engine.

Also aiding in the weight reduction are 19-inch wheels borrowed from the Superleggera that shed 28.6 lbs. Plus titanium bolts help cut a few more grams from the car.

GALLERY: Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Spyder Performante

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See after the jump for a full breakdown on all the specifications:

Continue Reading…

 |  Nov 18 2010, 9:07 AM

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When Dodge boss Ralph Gilles introduced the 2011 Dodge Charger at the LA Auto Show, he said that they call it the “car that makes other sedans wet their pants.” When he introduced the 2011 Dodge Challenger, he smiled.

He explained that all of the work that had gone into remaking the Charger had been transferred over to the Challenger as well. The suspension and steering upgrades, combined with the upgraded Hemi V8, make the car handle like it weighs 500 pounds lighter than it really does. That should bring it into Camaro, if not Mustang, territory. Also new for 2011 is the Pentastar V6 in lesser Challengers, as well as a new 392 Hemi in SRT8 392 special edition models.

That new 392 cubic inch Hemi V8 produces 470 horsepower and 470 ft-lbs of torque. The SRT8 392 will cost $42,555 and will be introduced with an inaugural series of 1,100 units in the States. The Pentastar V6 equipped SE models will produce 305 hp and will start at $24,670. Dodge will also offer just about every option previously available on only one trim level across the board now, so you won’t have to upgrade to an R/T to get 20-inch wheels for instance.

GALLERY: 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

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Official release with pricing after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Nov 18 2010, 9:02 AM

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When we saw the 2011 Dodge Avenger on stage at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, we noticed that it was parked next to a Challenger. Seriously, that’s about all we noticed.

Sure there’s some new styling cues at the front and rear, but basically it looks a lot like the 2010 model. Then we had a chance to see the interior and it changed our perceptions. When Ralph Gilles told us about how well this new model handles, we actually wanted to get behind that new wheel.

Let’s face it, Chrysler can’t just replace everything in the lineup with a completely new world-class product overnight, so making the best of what you’ve got is the only way to go for now. The changes made to the Avenger…under the skin…are probably going to pay more dividends anyhow. The new 283-hp Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 won’t hurt much either.

Dodge used the LA show to announce official pricing on the refreshed model with the base model Express starting at $19,245; the Mainstreet from $21,245; the Heat from $23,745 and the top-level Lux from $23,545.

GALLERY: 2011 Dodge Avenger

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 |  Nov 18 2010, 8:52 AM

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The 2011 Durango had yet another “official” debut at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, with Dodge front man Ralph Gilles telling the assembled journalists how proud he is to show off his portfolio now, with six new or newish models in the lineup – including the all-new Durango.

While Gilles talked at length about how each and every model in this new lineup will surpass any expectation you may have of a new Dodge lately, he admitted that he is most proud of the Durango. He said the handling, overall performance, and materials are particularly praiseworthy, and then he announced the pricing, which make it seem quite the bargain. Available in three trim levels, (well four if you count an optional package thrown in on the mid-line Crew model), base pricing of the new Durango will range from  $29,195 / $31,195 for the 2WD/4WD entry level Express models, up to $41,795 / $43,795 for the range-topping Citadel.

The new base engine is a 290-hp 3.6L V6 and with a 6,200 lb tow rating, while the top-level 5.7-liter Hemi V8 can pull 7,400 lbs.

Optional equipment on the new Durango includes items like Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, Forward Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control and Keyless Enter-n’ Go.

GALLERY: 2011 Dodge Durango Debut in LA

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Official release after the jump:

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 |  Nov 18 2010, 8:44 AM

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Of the six new models shown by Dodge at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, Ralph Gilles said the Journey was the one that required the most work.

Mentioning that the car had never lived up to its promise, he said that the Journey had to be almost completely rethought to make it what it was always supposed to be. The 2011 Dodge Journey is now a crossover to covet, Dodge claims. With a completely overhauled interior and suspension, it gets the same treatment as the rest of the Dodge lineup, but it makes a bigger difference in the Journey according to Ralph.

The Journey was always handsome if a bit anonymous. Now it features design cues that more closely match the rest of the family, both inside and out. With the new materials and layout for the interiors, these 2011 Dodge models have taken a huge step in the right direction. If they handle half as well as promised, they will be true competitors, especially with that new powerful and efficient Pentastar under their hoods – which in the Journey makes 283-hp and 260 ft-lbs of torque.

The 2011 Journey will start at a base price ranging from a really low $22,245 for the base level Express model to $32,740 for the Lux. Full pricing and live pics below.

GALLERY: 2011 Dodge Journey Debut in LA

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 |  Nov 18 2010, 8:38 AM

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Mercedes easily had one of the coolest press conferences at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. No, it wasn’t because of the Sprinkle’s cupcake truck on hand dispensing some of their legendary goods. It was all due to Nicky Hayden.

That name might not be too familiar to all of you unless you are into bikes as well as cars. Nicky (2006 MotoGP World Champion) actually was encouraged to drive on stage and do a nice little smokey burnout on his new ride – Ducati’s newest performance machine, the Diavel. After the brief hoonage with the new Diavel, Hayden stepped off to join the folks from AMG. The two companies announced a new partnership where AMG will sponsor the Ducati Moto GP team and Nicky and Valentino Rossi will presumably start driving SLS gullwings. Full info below along with live pics.

GALLERY: Nicky Hayden and the Ducati Diavel

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 |  Nov 17 2010, 10:23 PM

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Nearly a month after GM first showcased the concept, Buick has brought to market the Regal GS in an attempt to attract younger and more performance-oriented buyers to the geezer brand.

Changing little from the concept, it retains the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with output raised to 255-hp and a significant 295 ft-lbs of torque. Full power comes on strong at 5300 rpm and torque is available as of 2500 rpm. At launch the car will be offered exclusively with a 6-speed manual transmission, however, a 6-speed automatic will join the lineup shortly afterward.

Sadly, AWD is not available. Instead, the Regal GS is a front-drive only model and comes equipped with GM’s HiPerStrut suspension. What is included, however, are some beefy Brembo brakes which should help slow the sedan. Another important goody is GM’s new Interactive Drive Control that lets you choose different suspension and steering settings with normal, sport and high-performance GS modes.

Outside the car gets a more aggressive front end, larger exhaust pipes out back and 19-inch wheels (20s are optional). Inside, standard equipment includes a push-button start with passive keyless entry, a 9-speaker 320-watt Harmon/Kardon audio system, 12-way heated front seats with lumbar adjustment, full leather interior, Bi-xenon headlights, front and rear ultrasonic park assist and a flat-bottom leather steering wheel.

Overall, the Regal GS falls short of the high-performance Opel OPC on which it’s based, but for a Buick this package is impressive.

GALLERY: 2011 Buick Regal GS

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 |  Nov 17 2010, 10:10 PM

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Nissan has completely revamped its Quest minivan for 2011, getting away from its quirky ugly past and moving towards Toyota’s “Swagger Wagon” Sienna when it comes to road presence and interior luxury.

Powered by Nissan’s 3.5L V6 (what else?) the van makes 253-hp and will start at a rather competitive $27,750.

Features of the new 2011 Quest include standard Quick Release fold-flat 2nd and 3rd row seating with an available 3rd row power-return seatback, heated front seats, a removable 2nd row console, Blind Sport Warning (BSW) and a RearView Monitor and an optional 11-inch monitor.

The 2011 Quest will be available in four models: S, SV, SL and LE. Base S models get 16-inch steel wheels, 6-way adjustable front bucket seats, wood-tone trim, Nissan’s Intelligent Key with push-button ignition and an AM/FM/CD audio system with four speakers. Quest SV models get one-touch power sliding doors, 16-inch aluminum wheels, Tri-Zone climate control, a power driver’s seat with lumbar, fog lights, a 4.3-inch display screen, USB port with iPod connectivity, Bluetooth, a RearView Monitor and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Quest SL models get leather, 18-inch wheels, a power liftgate, 8-way driver’s seat, heated front seats, roof rails, auto headlights plus heated mirrors. Top-level LE models then add on a Navigation system with 12-speakers, memory seating, 2nd and 3rd row manual blinds, 4-way adjustable front passenger seat, HID lights, an 8-inch display screen, DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones and an 11-inch rear DVD entertainment system.

Nissan says the van is designed to be a reward to parents or doing their job.

Oh, and in person it’s simply enormous.

GALLERY: 2011 Nissan Quest Debut in LA

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GALLERY: 2011 Nissan Quest

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 |  Nov 17 2010, 10:05 PM

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Sharing much of the same architecture as the Cadillac SRX, the new Saab 9-4x also comes with the same 3.0L V6 and 2.8L turbocharged V6 engines, pumping out 265 and 300 horsepower respectively. Torque vectoring all-wheel-drive is available, while a 6-speed automatic gearbox helps put the power down. It’s a handsome crossover in person, nice materials, and lots of room inside.

This is the last model jointly developed with GM, by the way.

New Saab Designer Jason Castriota is working on a new 9-3 that they promise will be instantly recognizable as a Saab even without any badging. Check out our live pics and the press release below.

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Official release after the jump:

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