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.
After growing rumors that the Buick Regal GS might be joined by a larger sporty sibling, GM has finally gone on the record and quashed any notion of a LaCrosse Gran Sport model.
Given that the upcoming Cadillac XTS (which shares architecture with the LaCrosse) was slated to receive a version of GM’s twin-turbo V6, it was a logical step, say some to place a version of this motor in the Buick.
That said, with the LaCrosse having already received more power for the 2012 model year, in the shape of the 303 hp LFX 3.6-liter bent six engine, perhaps the idea of a GS model with a turbo motor seems a bit superfluous, at least for the time being. Further adding to that notion is the recently unveiled LaCrosse GL concept (shown above), which hints that the plans for Buick’s largest new generation car are slanted more towards luxury than performance (it’s certainly been that way in the past, even during the T-Type era).
That said, General Motors plans to revamp the LaCrosse for the 2014 model year, so it will be interesting to see if a Gran Sport model makes the cut sometime after then. For now however, if you fancy the idea of a twin-turbo V6 premium sedan from General Motors, your best bet will likely be the XTS.
[Source: GM Inside News]
Porsche had a treat for all of us attending the LA Auto Show this year leading up to the unveiling of the new Panamera GTS. A video was shown on the big screen boasting four of Porsche’s talented drivers, all taking a seat in the new Panamera GTS and having one hell of a ride out on a track. Greeting us on the show floor were drivers Patrick Long and Romain Dumas to pull the cover up off the new GTS.
Now Porsche has the video to share with the rest of the general public, showcasing all of the GTS’s strengths. Four passenger seating, ridiculous power, control and well, amazingly good looks. If you can’t tell by now, we’re huge fans of the new Panamera GTS… if only it came with a manual.
Check out the video after the break.
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Don’t live in LA, or you just can’t be bothered to face the crowds and finish off your day with sore feet? Then you’re in luck. AutoGuide has done all the footwork (and the talkie talkie, and the video editing), to bring you the highlights from the 2011 LA Auto Show. From the Subaru BRZ STI Concept, to the 650-hp Shelby GT500 watch our video series to get the rundown on the most exciting vehicles at this year’s show.
Watch all of AutoGuide’s 2011 LA Auto Show videos below:
Given all the buzz surrounding this year’s LA Auto Show, there was perhaps one thing that was seemingly overlooked; that being the ambitious plans by CODA Automotive to make its electric sedan a seriously viable proposition to the likes of mainstream passenger cars, at least when it comes to driving in So Cal.
The car, which is based on a rather workaday model sourced from China, the Pininfarina styled (yes really) Hafei Saibo, features an electric driveline with a 34 kW lithium-ion iron phosphate battery system and a 6.6 kW onboard charger. This is said to provide a greater range than comparable all-electric vehicles currently on the market (some 150 miles, which CODA says is five-times the distance of the average daily commute), plus reduced charging times. The 6.6 kW unit will take approximately four hours to deliver a 100 mile charge).
In addition, CODA is backing its $39,900 2012 model year sedan (federal tax savings and California rebates knock approximately 10 large off the sticker), with a 100,000 mile, 10-year warranty on the battery pack, currently besting those offered by the likes of Mitsubishi and Nissan.
Furthermore, at the 2011 LA Auto Show, where the company had a number of its CODA sedans on display, it also announced that it’s partnering with GE Energy to market and distribute the GE WattStation EV charging unit alongside the cars at the same retail locations.
The idea is to provide a one-stop shopping experience for would-be CODA buyers as well as boosting the vehicle’s potential market appeal.
“We’re excited to be the first car company in the US to be working with [GE Energy] to support consumers as they enter the EV world,” declared Phil Murtagh, CEO of CODA Holdings.
Luis Ramirez, CEO of GE Energy Industry Solutions, added ” this milestone is another step in GE’s journey to lead the future of global electrification. As demand for the [GE WattStation] continues to exceed our expectations, bringing our products closer to the customer will help accelerate the adoption of EVs.”
The GE WattStation is a Level 2 charging device, designed to shorten the time it takes to re-charge the car, currently one of the biggest obstacles facing all-electric vehicles.
GALLERY: Coda EV
10. Chevrolet Spark
Just a few years ago picking a Top 10 Cars list from the LA Auto Show would have been a simple task, with few world premieres and most of the vehicles on display having already been revealed at some overseas venue. That’s no longer the case, with over 20 global debuts this year. So with a sizable list to choose from, the AutoGuide team sat down at the end of the two media days of press conferences to determine the most exciting, most interesting and most important reveals of the show. And here they are:
From the Fiat 500 to the Smart fortwo and Scion iQ, the mini car segment continues to grow in North America. Not wanting to pass this segment by, Chevrolet has entered the fray with a tiny car of its own, the Spark. Sized down from even the new Sonic sub-compact it still has a livable amount of space and comes powered by an ultra-small 1.2-liter 4-cylinder engine making just 85-hp. Thankfully it weighs just 2,300 lbs, so acceleration, shouldn’t be terrible.
Notable features on this car include a standard 7-inch screen with Chevy’s new MyLink system and Bluetooth. Plus, power windows, air conditioning and 10 airbags come standard.
GALLERY: Chevrolet Spark
If you’re a lover of hot-hatches then there’s a lot going on at Ford these days that will interest you. For starters there’s the new Focus ST, a high-performance version of the new compact hatch that’s set to take on cars like the Mazdaspeed3 and Civic Si. It makes 247-hp from a turbocharged direct-injection EcoBoost 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and thanks to a long list of upgrades an an innovative torque distribution system, looks to be plenty fun, and plenty capable.
Sized-down from the Focus ST is a new Fiesta ST, with the same sort of upgrades, but sporting an EcoBoost 1.6-liter engine making 180-hp. It’s technically a concept, but Ford is serious about bringing this car to market – and we can’t wait.
GALLERY: Ford Focus ST
GALLERY: Ford Fiesta ST Concept
Watch the video below for a look at both cars from the floor of the LA Auto Show:
Prior to this year’s LA Auto Show, there appeared to be a great deal of buzz surrounding the Dodge stand, after all the limited production Yellow Jacket Challenger and Charger Super Bee were due to make their debut here, most attendees expecting them to make a splash, finished in retina scorching yellow.
Instead things ended up quite different. The Yellow Jacket never made it out onto the show floor and Super Bee, instead of being officially unveiled, sneaked its way onto the Dodge stand virtually undetected, aided by being a Pitch Black model, instead of one finished in shocking Stinger Yellow.
Nonetheless the car, which will be limited to a production run of 1000 units, was quite well received, by those that were able to actually notice it. However, with matte black finished graphics, gloss black rear spoiler, even gloss black inserts on the rear wheels, the Pitch Black model is essentially devoid of color, that is, if you discount the charcoal hood stripes, 392 Hemi fender badges and Super Bee emblem on the grille.
However, with winter fast approaching for us Northern folk, the availability of this car and the Yellow Jacket will no doubt bring a few rays of sunshine to a dull January, even though from the time those North of the Mason-Dixon buy their new toys to the time they’ll really want to drive them might be several months.
GALLERY: 2012 Dodge Charger Super Bee
Ford‘s new Escape couldn’t be any more different from the outgoing model, with a new look, a new platform, new EcoBoost turbocharged direct-injection engines and an all-new interior with an updated version of Ford’s MyFord Touch telematics system. Plus, Ford has added a cool new innovation, the handsfree liftgate. Find out about all the updates and watch the liftgate in action with AutoGuide editor Colum Wood from the floor of the LA Auto Show.
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Escape
Watch the video below:
We were teased with some pictures of it prior to the car’s official debut at the LA Auto Show, yet with the emphasis on the 650 hp Shelby GT500, it was perhaps understandable that the Boss 302, which has been hogging the limelight as of late, took a step back.
Nonetheless, it remains a serious piece of kit for 2013. The 5.0-liter Coyote V8 with its unique induction setup and calibration, cranking out a credible 444 horsepower 380 lb-ft of torque, while power is transmitted through a close-ratio six-speed to a solid axle with 3.73 gears.
Like other Ford Mustangs, the 2013 Boss adopts more of a Shelby esque front fascia for 2013, with HID headlights, plus a more aggressive front splitter and removable covers where the foglights are found on standard GTs. They are designed to provide extra cooling during track days and can be quickly removed and reinstalled with a screwdriver.
Other distinguishing features include a move to a reflective stripe package, with hockey stick graphics on the flanks (the spitting image of those found on the 1970 Boss 302), a new exterior color in the shape of shocking School Bus Yellow (chosen due to partnership with Bluebird), a gloss back panel between the LED taillight lenses.
Laguna Seca Boss models feature an even more aggressive front splitter, and new gray accents on the exterior mirrors, grille and rear deck spoiler. There’s also a Laguna Seca logo on the fake rear “gas cap” as well as two-tone gray and silver 19-inch wheels. Laguna Seca models for 2013 will be offered in either School Bus Yellow or Black exterior colors and dispense with the roof stripes found on the 2012 version.
Another feature standard on all Boss 302s for ’13 is Ford’s SYNC in-car connectivity system, though one has to wonder if there’s a command that says “More Horsepower.”
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302
Following on from its world debut back in Frankfurt, the latest Bentley Continental GTC has now arrived on our shores, debuting in perhaps the most appropriate place in the land, Los Angeles.
Positioned on a customary wood lined Bentley display at the LA Auto Show, the GTC will no doubt be lining the streets of Bel Air and Beverly Hills in the near future, as well as other well-to-do districts from coast to coast.
Although at a glance, the difference between this car and it’s predecessor might not be readily apparent , the superformed aluminum front fenders and double horseshoe tail treatment reminiscent of the larger Mulsanne, lend a sharper definition of form and dare we say, even greater exclusivity.
That’s something which is carried over to the car’s interior, where old world craftsmanship melds with high technology, in this case handcrafted leather and wood, alongside a 30 gigabyte operated eight-inch in-dash screen with touch function, navigation, even a zip-code entry system, which likely prioritizes addresses ending in 90210.
Joking aside, this 567-hp, twin-turbo W12-powered bespoke special, also sports a recalibrated transmission for more responsive shift times and even seat neck warmers, allowing more northern buyers to enjoy open air driving for just that little bit longer.
The latest Bentley GTC will be on sale in the US before the end of this year, priced at $212,800. We’ll take two!
GALLERY: Bentley Continental GTC
So far, much of the buzz surrounding Mexico’s sports car, the Mastretta MXT has centered around remarks made by Top Gear’s presenters, Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May.
Yet for all intents and purposes it’s very much the real deal, featuring a semi-monocoque skeleton formed from aluminium and carbon fiber reinforced plastic. Powered by a twin cam in-line turbocharged four, cranking out some 260 hp and 257 lb-ft of torque, the mid-engined MXT weighs some 2,662 lbs, which according to an official press release enables it to dash from 0-62 mph in 4.9 seconds, and achieve more than 1.1 lateral g while cornering, making it very much in the spirit of the Lotus Elise.
Mastretta which is an arm of Technoidea , a Mexican design and engineering consulting firm, has already begun producing MXTs as turnkey cars for the home and European markets, now the firm is getting ready to move northwards, choosing this year’s LA Auto Show to launch the US version.
Labeled as “specially constructed vehicles,” MXTs destined for the United States and Canada are projected to sell around $60,-$65,000, which considering the performance on tap, is quite a bargain for such a specialty machine.
Mastretta says it plans to sell 100 examples of the MXT in the US next year, with plans to ramp up capacity to around 500 units per year by 2016.
Chevrolet‘s new mid-size Colorado pickup will offer most of the functionality of a full-size light-duty pickup without the operating costs, according to Mark Reuss, head of General Motors North America.
“You may have 85, 90 percent of what a big pickup will do,” Reuss told Automotive News at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The previous Colorado offered a 5-cylinder and a V8 option but Reuss did not announce powertrain options. With upcoming fuel economy regulations and rising gas prices, the Colorado will be an important entry in the pickup truck segment, the dominant vehicle in the United States.
Reuss also said that ”rather than putting full-blown four-mode hybrids or two-mode hybrids into large pickup trucks and trying to get efficiency out of it, which is extremely expensive, we can do things with lower displacement, hybridization, alternate fuels.” Reuss also noted that the running costs of the Colorado would be significantly less than a full-size pickup.
General Motors will have to convince buyers that the smaller Colorado will be able to meet their needs, while marketing the pickup in such a way as to avoid the stigma that small pickups have among some buyers. GM did not say whether GMC will get a version to replace the GMC Canyon, sister truck to the Colorado.
[Source: Automotive News]
Over a year ago Honda and Mazda got the ball rolling, announcing new B-Spec race cars based on their sub-compact Fit and Mazda2 models. Since then numerous other automakers have signed on, ranging from Fiat with the 500, to Kia with the Rio. The latest automaker to toss its tires into the ring is MINI, with a B-Spec race version of the Cooper Hardtop.
Unveiled at the LA Auto Show, MINI partnered with Mini of Charleston, South Carolina to develop a turnkey racecar package. Sold separate from the car, it will allow owners to transform their street machine (2007 to 2012 models only), into a track ready machine. Included in the package is a roll cage, racing seat and harness, plus KW coilovers, upgraded brake pads and braided lines. No changes to the engine are permitted in the series, with the B-Spec MINI making 122-hp.
With growing support for the class, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) has announced a new B-Spec series that will run alongside the World Challenge series as it makes its way to different tracks across America starting in the spring.
GALLERY: MINI Cooper B-Spec
The Fiat 500 was just an appetizer. This is the car Fiat fans have really been waiting for, the 500 Abarth. Built by the automaker’s in-house tuning division, the Abarth model gets a long list of upgrades, from a lower and stiffer suspension, to upgraded wheels and, most importantly, a turbocharged mated to the 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine to deliver 160-hp. Find out more on the Fiat 500 Abarth in the video below.
GALLERY: Fiat 500 Abarth
Watch the video below:
Grammar sticklers will be disappointed that the headline is not actually a typo – we were just so captivated by the Ford Focus ST, spotted at the Los Angeles Auto Show in this fetching shade of blue that we felt it would be a dereliction of duty if we didn’t mention it.
Although the Focus ST has been on the show circuit for about a year now, the car is still a bit away from launch. Specs include Ford’s 2.0L Ecoboost motor displacing 247 horsepower and 260 lb-ft, with a choice of a 6-speed manual or 6-speed dual clutch gearbox, along with ATE brakes and some wild-hued sports seats. A Sony headunit that looked like it was ready for the much-loathed MyFordTouch infotainment system was also spotted.
So far, we’ve only seen the Focus ST in the papaya-like orange, but this blue, reminiscent of the Escort Cosworth and 1st generation Focus RS, has us seriously infatuated. How much longer must we wait?
Gallery: Ford Focus ST
If there’s one thing you can guarantee in Southern California, it’s the opportunity for a bit of glamor and glitz. Probably not surprising then that Lamborghini, at a very exclusive gathering in Beverly Hills, elected to unveil the latest member of it’s Gallardo family – the LP550-2 Spyder.
Among the attendees that gathered at the world introduction of the new rear-drive convertible were actors Dominic Monaghan (perhaps best known for his role as Merry in Lord of the Rings), Ralf Moeller (Conan the Adventurer -TV series) and Lake Bell (Boston Legal, How to Make it in America).
Filippo Perini, who head’s up Lamborghini’s design centern, gave a rare glimpse at the company’s design process, by doing live sketches of the Gallardo LP550-2 Spyder during the event.
Further distractions included a fashion show, highlighting the new Automobile Lamborghini Winter Collection and music spun by DJ Cobra, which alternated between modern trendy club tunes and seriously old school New Wave, R&B and Hip Hop.
Stephan Winkleman, Lambo’s CEO essentially summed up the evening by saying that [the new 550-2 Spyder] “will appeal to a very special group of customers – many in Southern California – that enjoy a spirited driving style paired with the sheer exhilaration of open-air driving.”
Gallery: Lamborghini LP550-2 Spyder
See video from the reveal below:
Gallery: 2013 Lincoln MKS
Americans have been historically unreceptive to small cars, and the 2013 Chevrolet Spark represents uncharted territory for the brand, which will introduce their first B-segment car since the Chevrolet Metro, long the butt of jokes for American society.
Unveiled at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Spark measures two feet shorter than the already compact Chevrolet Sonic, but is only 6 inches shorter than the Chevrolet Equinox mid-size crossover. These dimensions leave us a bit skeptical, as the whole package seems a tad top-heavy, but the 1.2L 4-cylinder engine only makes 85-horsepower, so high-speed cornering is more theoretical than realistic.
We do like the 2,269-lb curb weight, as well as the 7-inch touch screen and Bluetooth integration. The Spark has done well in a number of world markets where physical space is at a premium, and considering how much we liked the Sonic, we’re optimistic that the Spark will be a fun, if not sporty, urban runabout.
Gallery: 2013 Chevrolet Spark
The Ford Flex never really caught on in the marketplace, but the car has a cult following among a certain subset, who enjoy its quirky looks and seven-passenger layout. Ford unveiled a revised version Thursday at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
For 2013, the Flex will get a few changes to help make it more attractive to consumers. The base 3.5L V6 gets a 20 horsepower increase to 285, while the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 remains unchanged. A 1 mpg bump is also applicable to the base V6.
A revised front end (similar to what was previously seen on higher end Flex trim levels) marks the big change for this year, along with an updated interior and a new version of the MyFordTouch infotainment system. Features like a blind-spot alert system, adaptive cruise control push- button start, rear inflatable belts, rain-sensing wipers and active park assist will all be available.
Gallery: 2013 Ford Flex
The 2011 Green Car of the Year award isn’t going to an electric car or a hybrid. The winner is the Honda Civic GX, a car that has an internal combustion engine, but that doesn’t burn any gasoline at all. That’s because it’s powered by natural gas.
The car is rated at 27-mpg city, 38-mpg highway and a 31-mpg average. Honda claims the cost to operate the car is roughly 30 percent less than a conventional gasoline engine.
While fueling stations for such cars are rare, they’re likely to become much more popular – especially in Southern California. The reason is that the Civic GX is allowed to operate in the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes – something the Prius is no longer able to boast.
Along with staff from the Green Car Journal, this year’s judging panel for the 2012 Green Car of the Year award included Carl Pope, Sierra Club chairman; Frances Beinecke, Natural Resources Defense Council president; as well as Jay Leno and Carroll Shelby.
Over the past few decades, one of the main criticisms that could be made against Buick models is that they were quasi-luxury cars, never quite rising to the status of a the Germans or Japanese. Buick now seems ready to raise the bar, with the debut of the LaCrosse GL Concept at the LA Auto Show.
Starting on the outside there’s an impressive Cabernet Red paint finish offset by tinted chrome brightwork, and 20 inch wheels. That’s nothing compared to the interior, which features two-tone cabin with dark cocoa brown and caramel chocochino leather with light blue stitching. Inside, with a suede headliner, a swirled wood grain on the dash and steering wheel inspired by Les Paul guitars and storage boxes that have been lined in high grade materials.
What isn’t yet clear is if Buick plans to move their vehicles upmarket, or if GL models will be an exclusive trim level, much like Cadillac’s Platinum range.
GALLERY: Buick LaCrosse GL Concept
Overshadowed by a lot of other produts, even within the GM umbrealla with Cadillac’s new XTS flagship sedan, the Buick LaCrosse GL Concept
Adding performance, power and style, Porsche has unveiled the new Panamera GTS at the LA Auto Show. Already an impressive performer, Porsche ups the ante with a long list of upgrades, ranging from the brakes to the exhaust system, to a standard Sport Chrono Package with launch control. Power has also been increased 30-hp from the 4.8-liter V8 for a total of 430-hp.
With custom bodywork and a lowered suspension, this Panamera is starting to change our opinion on the car’s much-maligned looks.
For more on the new Panamera GTS, watch the video below:
Star of the upcoming movie Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Paula Patton, was on hand in helping introduce the North American debut of BMW’s i3 and i8 Concepts. Neither of these concepts are new to us, having seen them in detail at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but it’s understandable with the i8 playing a major role in the upcoming movie why BMW would give it center stage at the LA Auto Show.
Both the i3 and i8 Concepts are derived from BMW’s LifeDrive Vehicle Architecture incorporating a Life Module with a carbon fiber passenger compartment. The i8 features a 170-hp electric drive motor in the front while a 220-hp three-cylinder gas motor powers the rear. With a 50/50 weight distribution, BMW continued to boast that the i8 can have an estimated 78-mpg, delivering the performance of an M3 with the interior space of a 6-Series. BMW also reiterated that they will have a production model ready to show to the world by 2014.
The smaller i3 features a 170-hp electric drive engine with 184 lb-ft of torque and promises up to a 100-mile range that can be doubled with a range extender. A full charge of the i3 can be had in just four hours on a 220-volt charger, while an 80-percent charge can be obtained in just a single hour with a high speed charger. BMW announced that they plan to have a production vehicle based on the i3 Concept by the end of 2013.
Also making its North American premiere was BMW’s M5, though we’ve probably seen more than enough of it already. Worth noting was that BMW brought one out in a matte silver metallic finish and it sounded great rolling out to the show floor.
GALLERY: BMW i3 Concept
GALLERY: BMW i8 Concept
GALLERY: BMW M5
Even though the 2013 BMW 3-Series hasn’t yet hit North American soil – it will do so at the Detroit Auto Show on January 12th – they are more than excited for the new generation of their best seller.
As with any BMW, we would take the MSRP with a grain of salt. A couple of add-ons and luxury necessities and your final sum will be substantially higher.
GALLERY: 2013 BMW 3-Series Sedan