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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.
 |  Mar 22 2012, 6:00 PM

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The Ram Laramie Limited debuted at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show offering some luxurious options from Dodge subsidiary, Ram for the popular pickup.

Saddling up in the high-end pickup comes with a hefty price as we’ve learned today. The Laramie Limited boasts a starting price of $45,700 for the 4×2 model making it the most expensive Ram model yet. To put it all into perspective, a bare-bones 1500 starts at just $21,820.

Some would put up a good argument that you get a good bang for the buck though. The Laramie Limited comes with a color-matched front bumper, fog lights, a chrome grille, and 20-inch wheels. All the badges are also replaced with “Limited” ones while the interior features leather with greystone piping. The center console has been highlighted with piano black high gloss details along with chrome vent rings and liquid graphite side bezels.

Luxury in spades, the Laramie Limited is outfitted with a remote start system, backup camera, a heated steering wheel, adjustable pedals, and front vented seats. Really, the Ram Laramie Limited is a bit of a bargain if you think of it more as a luxury vehicle — as long as you’re ok with the pickup truck packaging.

It’s rather interesting to see American automakers offering such luxurious amenities on pickup trucks. Then again, it’s not like you can toss all your hardware into the truck of your Mercedes E-Class without a care.

GALLERY: Ram Laramie Limited

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 |  Mar 02 2012, 8:01 AM

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A busy auto show can feel less like a civilized venue and more like a petting zoo, depending on how many people crowd in.

Joshua Smith, a loyal Audi customer drive three hours to the 2012 Chicago Auto Show to see the Audi RS5, hoping to get a closer look and even order one.

Unfortunately, when he got to the show the Audi representative refused to open the RS5. Smith felt understandably disappointed. He currently owns an S5, A6, and an A3 but thought the RS5 might make a good fourth. After such a disappointing experience, Smith drove home and sent a letter to Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen. What happened next was probably beyond his (and our) wildest imagination.

Smith received a lengthy response from de Nysschen explaining Audi’s reluctance to let show-goers sit in the RS5. First, it was a pre-production vehicle. Second, it was the only one that Audi of America had for the entire auto show season. Getting replacement parts would be a huge hassle if anything was damaged in the prototype. Nice as it was to respond, the end of the message is what most people are paying attention to now. It read:

“One of my team members will contact you shortly to arrange a private viewing of the RS5 for you. We will be pleased to truck the car to your home so that you can take a close look at this stunning driving machine. The car will be in Chicago until March 9th when it will be moved to the next Auto Show.”

When the RS5 showed up at Smith’s front door, it wasn’t alone. The entire truckload of show cars from the Chicago Auto Show: the RS5, S6, S7, S8, and A8 3.0T were all present. Even though it probably wasn’t the cheapest option for Audi, they certainly won back a loyal customer that became hesitant to purchase the RS5 after his poor car show experience. The free press can’t hurt either.

Watch the videos that Joshua posted on YouTube after the break.

GALLERY: Audi RS5

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[Source: QuattroWorld]

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 |  Feb 14 2012, 7:03 PM

There’s a new teaser video for the RAM Laramie Limited pickup on YouTube, featuring the same scantly clad bikini babe as last week, but with more automotive footage.

Dodge‘s truck division released a teaser video last week, but the footage showed little more than a bodacious bikini model stepping from the ocean.

Captions after the actual video revealed that the new line will be featured in conjunction with this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, but that was all the info we got.

It turns out that the footage is of RAM’s new Laramie Limited pickup, which we reported on during our coverage of this year’s Chicago Auto Show. Coincidentally, our pictures have a pretty girl in them too, but we’re guessing our photos probably can’t compete with a soaking-wet supermodel, so have a look for yourself after the jump.

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 |  Feb 14 2012, 6:01 PM

The Kia Track’ster was arguably the most interesting new vehicle at the Chicago Auto Show this year. Based on the Kia Soul, this compact racer has undeniable good looks.

The Track’ster took nine months to design, but the end product is evidence of the designers efforts. This video walks through every step of the process which takes quite a few people’s input into account.

Concept designs are some of the hardest work car companies will put in because each piece needs to be designed and manufactured by hand. Then, once all the parts are made, each piece is checked over to make sure it perfectly fits the specifications it was built to. Once the car is assembled it is gone over with a fine-toothed comb to check for errors. The process is gruelling and puts any company’s commitment to the test.

Watch the video of the making of the Kia Track’ster after the jump.

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 |  Feb 11 2012, 4:04 PM

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

You don’t have to actually step inside the Chicago Auto Show to see the sites.

AutoGuide’s video crew was on hand to cover all the major debuts, from the new Acura ILX to the wild Kia Track’ster Concept (above). See all the videos below and be sure to check out our complete coverage here.

Watch all the videos below:

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 |  Feb 11 2012, 12:00 PM

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Cadillac Global Vehicle Line Executive, Dave Leone, recently disclosed at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show that future models of their new ATS will offer a torque-vectoring system in either its rear- or all-wheel drive configurations.

Even though torque vectoring won’t be available when the ATS hits dealerships this summer, Leone wanted to make sure everyone knew that Cadillac is already looking at future improvements on the 3 Series rival. “That comes later,” Leone said, adding, “Is it necessary? No. But it’s the next step in refinement.”

And the torque vectoring that will make its way to the ATS won’t be the run-of-the-mill pinch-a-brake setup that most automakers describe as torque vectoring. Cadillac is planning to make the ATS differentials deliver extra torque to an individual rear wheel – or front wheel in the AWD models – when required.

Interestingly enough, Leone also said that he expects that 35- to 40- percent of all ATS sales will be all-wheel drive. And even though Cadillac still hasn’t officially announced pricing on the new ATS, Leone still believes it’ll be in the mid-$30,000 range to stay competitive with the BMW 3-Series models and the Audi A4.

GALLERY: Cadillac ATS

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[Source: Inside Line]

 |  Feb 10 2012, 5:46 PM

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GMC unveiled their 2013 Acadia crossover at the Chicago Auto Show last Tuesday, but they didn’t mention during the presentation that they sourced parts for their refreshed model from unusable Saturn Outlooks.

GMC spokesperson Joe LaMuraglia confirmed the suspicion after Car and Driver wrote a blog post speculating the company may have cut costs by doing that.

It might seem offensive to some that GM would call the CUV new while using old parts, but at least they’re reusing what would otherwise be garbage.

We generally feel that the 2013 model year looks better than what it will replace, but just in case you’re curious here’s what they recycled: the rear liftgate and rear side glass both came from the Outlook, which was probably what tipped the Car and Driver boys off in the first place. The rear spoiler and rear quarter panel are also re-used parts.

Perhaps the funniest part of this whole story is how Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president of GMC Marketing touted the new wraparound glass rear as a highlight in their refresh.

GALLERY: 2013 GMC Acadia

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[Source: Car and Driver]

 |  Feb 10 2012, 11:41 AM

10. 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S


2012 Porsche Carrera S

Whether you’re heading to the Chicago Auto Show and want to know what to check out, or your trip is a bit more virtual, AutoGuide editors have compiled a list of the must-sees at this year’s event.

Head into McCormick Place and hang a left. You can’t miss the all-new 2012 Porsche 911. It might not be a world premiere, or even a North American debut, but the beautifully blue Carrera S is a piece of art. Four inches longer than the outgoing model it’s more substantial and a much sleeker design.

Powered by a 400 hp 3.8-liter flat-six engine the Carrera S can hit 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds when paired with Porsche’s PDK 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and the optional Sport Chrono Package. It’ll also lap the Nurburgring as fast as the previous generation GT3!

 |  Feb 10 2012, 8:13 AM

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This is what 650 hp blowing through your hair looks like. To know what it feels like, well, you’ll have to buy Ford’s new 2013 Shelby GT500 Convertible… or wait for our review.

Unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show, the GT500 drop-top borrows from the coupe, especially when it comes to what’s under the hood with a supercharged 5.8-liter V8. Want to know more? Watch out first look video below.

GALLERY: 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible

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 |  Feb 10 2012, 7:57 AM

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Nissan has revealed a modest refresh of its 370Z sports car for 2013, with a new front fascia and some notably wild new wheels. In addition upgrades have been made to the Sport package, to improve performance and add some extra flare.

Unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show, AutoGuide was on hand to get a look at the updated machine. See our first look video below for all the details.

GALLERY: 2013 Nissan 370Z

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 |  Feb 09 2012, 3:30 PM

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Ram‘s new Laramie Limited luxury package pickup bowed yesterday at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show in true American fashion: with a pretty girl smiling at its’ side.

“The launch of the Ram Laramie Longhorn edition gave us a boost in the ultra-premium pickup segment and exceeded our expectations,” said Fred Diaz, President and CEO of the Ram Truck Brand. “Ram Laramie Limited offers customers an even wider selection of luxury models. We expect a lot of interest in the Laramie Limited.”

The Laramie Limited is to be one of two high-end packages available from Dodge subsidiary, Ram. It offers customers the luxury found in their Longhorn version, but without the cattle rancher theme that might scare people away who don’t wear ten gallon hats.

Style-wise,  you get a body colored front fascia, fog lamps, a chrome grill and 20-inch forged aluminum wheels. All HEMI, Cummins, and Ram badges are also replaced by small “Limited” badges. Climb into the cab and you’ll find the interior dressed in leather and lined with greystone piping. The center stack wears a piano black high gloss and gets chrome vent rings with liquid graphite side bezels.

Luxury features are also abound here, including a remote start system, backup camera, a heated steering wheel, adjustable pedals and front vented seats to keep you cool on those hot summer days at the job site. Don’t worry, we won’t tell the guys you’re using them.

GALLERY: RAM Laramie Limited

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 |  Feb 09 2012, 12:08 PM

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As planned GMC unveiled its refreshed Acadia SUV at the Chicago Auto Show this week, but the GM truck division also prepared a surprise.

In addition to the standard-trim truck, GMC showcased the top-trim Denali version, complete with 20-inch wheels, an upgraded interior and paint-matched body cladding to deliver a more luxurious look.

For more on both vehicles, watch out first look video below.

GALLERY: 2013 GMC Acadia

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GALLERY: 2013 GMC Acadia Denali

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 |  Feb 09 2012, 10:50 AM

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Expanding the Elantra range, Hyundai has unveiled a coupe version of its popular Elantra sedan at the Chicago Auto Show.

Ready to take on the Civic Coupe with styling, horsepower and fuel economy, the Elantra Coupe gets some sporty touches and some added features.

Find out more about the Elantra Coupe in our first look video below.

GALLERY: 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe

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 |  Feb 09 2012, 10:29 AM

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Hyundai‘s old Elantra Touring was a function-first vehicle, targeted against cars like the Toyota Matrix. Now Hyundai is switching gears, replacing that small wagon with the Elantra GT (that’s Grand Touring), a hatchback built to compete against fun cars like the Mazda3, Ford Focus hatchback and VW Golf.

Unveiled alongside the Elantra Coupe at the Chicago Auto Show, find out more about the new 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT by watching the video below.

GALLERY: 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

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 |  Feb 08 2012, 9:13 PM

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We got an up close and personal look at the Mopar’s take on the Jeep Compass, which they call the “True North” edition, today at the Chicago Auto Show.

The modifications gave a bit of practical improvement while leaving the SUV’s off-road ability untouched. Among those changes, front and rear brush bars offer the Compass’ underside some protection. Beyond that, the Mopar treatment is strictly cosmetic. A two-tone burnt orange and matte black finish make it look more aggressive, as do the larger fenders.

Inside, the car gets neoprene seats, which is a cool touch for a vehicle aimed at outdoorsy types. The dashboard also gets tilt and pitch gauges, which would be a cool edition for a trail rated vehicle if we hadn’t touched them and the carbon fiber shifter knob was also a cool touch. Unfortunately, the unit felt like flimsy and poorly attached. Finally  The car also got an improved sound system which we could see working well during beach nights or camping trips where the flip-down rear speakers get their best use.

Have a look through our gallery and lend us your thoughts in the comments section.

GALLERY: Mopar Jeep Compass “True North”

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 |  Feb 08 2012, 9:09 PM

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Of all the special edition vehicles Mopar has on display today at the Chicago Auto Show, the Dodge Dart is probably the most attractive.

It’s also the most radically different looking of the four vehicles we had a chance to see today thanks to the sweeping carbon fiber hood with an aggressive-looking hood scoop that looks down towards a black grille. Those colors work well against the car’s red paint, especially with the 18-inch black aluminum alloy wheels which set this special dart aflight.

Mopar also graced the car with a better air intake and exhaust and retuned engine computer to make an extra 30 horsepower, bringing this version up to 210 total.

Inside, the car gets similar treatment as the exterior. A matching color scheme and piano black trim set the Dodge Dart GTS 210 Tribute well apart from the stock model — if you’re into the racer boy look.

Click through our gallery and tells us your thoughts in the comments section below.

GALLERY: Dodge Dart GTS 210 Tribute

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 |  Feb 08 2012, 9:07 PM

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Today we took a first-hand look at the most powerful of the four vehicles Mopar doctored up for this year’s Chicago Auto Show, the Mopar Chrysler 300 ’12.

In case you don’t recognize that name — it’s actually just a dressed up Chrysler 300, albeit with a price tag that jumped about $10,000 over the entry-level Hemi 300. For $49,700, you get a somewhat sinister black-and-chrome color scheme helped by blue pinstripes that set the car’s lines back in sight. 20-inch glossy black rims complement the matching grille and paint job.

The 300 ’12 interior is full of black leather with blue stitching to match the striped outside. The seats also get blue Mopar emblems embroidered in them, though they look gaudy in a car at that price.

You won’t find any engine changes here, the same 5.7-liter Hemi V8 making 363 horsepower is mated with a 5-speed automatic transmission, but it’s going to feel more punchy off the line thanks to a more aggressive differential. Drivers may also notice improved handling thanks to a stiffer suspension.

Have a look at our gallery and tell us what you think in the comments section below.

GALLERY: 2012 Mopar 300 ’12

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 |  Feb 08 2012, 9:01 PM

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Mopar is making an appearance at the Chicago Auto Show featuring four cars they’ve decked out with loads of visual goodies including the Mopar Fiat 500 “Stinger,” pictured above.

Photos hit the media last week, along with the equipment list for the Stinger, which plays up the black and yellow paint scheme you might expect given the name. Black stripes run along the sides, and a black-and-yellow checker pattern covers the roof.

Other than the exterior styling changes, the other-other 500 (don’t forget the Abarth) comes with black chrome accents and 17-inch black aluminum wheels borrowed from, well, the Abarth. The interior also gets new color touches that match the Stinger-styled outside.

Performance-wise there isn’t much different here: just a new set of brakes, cold air intake and a cat-back exhaust to help the car’s 1.4-liter engine breathe easier.

Have a look at our pictures from the show, shown below.

GALLERY: Fiat 500 Stinger

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 |  Feb 08 2012, 6:58 PM

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If you were able to keep your eyes off of Adriana Lima to acknowledge that there was indeed a car in Kia‘s Super Bowl ad, then you should find this Optima SX Limited familiar. The top-of-the-line Limited Package for the 2012 Optima SX was made official today at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.

The fully-loaded trim sits on top of the turbocharged Optima SX and starts with a $3,300 package as an option. Included at that price is black or white Nappa leather added to the seats, door panels, and center console, LED daytime running lights, wood interior trim, additional exterior chrome, 18-inch wheels, red front brake calipers, a first-aid kit, and the ever-important SXL badging.

But here’s the catch. Reaching for the Limited package requires you to also purchase the $4,350 SX Technology and Premium package, bringing the Optima SX Limited to a whopping $34,900. With it however, you will also get a backup camera, in-dash navigation, eight-speaker Infinity audio system, heated and cooled front seats, four-way power front-passenger seat, panoramic sunroof, heated rear outboard seating, and power-folding mirrors. Unfortunately only three colors are available for the Optima SX Limited: Ebony Black, Snow White Pearl, and Titanium Metallic.

Regardless, you’ll get to enjoy the benefits of a turbocharged, 2.0L engine with 274-hp and a six-speed automatic transmission.

GALLERY: 2012 Kia Optima SX Limited Package

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GALLERY: 2012 Kia Optima SX Limited Reveal

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 |  Feb 08 2012, 6:40 PM

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Twenty years ago at the Chicago Auto Show, Ford introduced the SVT Mustang Cobra, launching its Special Vehicle Team performance division.

Two decades later, back at the same show Ford has introduced the 2013 Shelby GT500 Convertible, with a special commemorative 20th Anniversary illuminated door sill.

Also in attendance was one very special ‘Stang, a limited edition ’93 Cobra R – one of just 107 ever made. The “R” took the SVT’s already impressive performance specs and tuned the car for the track.

In the 20 years that separates the two cars, SVT has launched vehicles like the F-150 Lightning, Focus SVT and Ford GT supercar.

“In the past 20 years, SVT has engineered world-class mid-engine supercars, front-wheel-drive performance cars, rear-wheel-drive muscle cars and high-performance on-road and off-road pickup trucks,” said Jamal Hameedi, SVT chief engineer. “There is no other performance house in the world that can match that diverse résumé.”

GALLERY: 1993 SVT Ford Mustang Cobra R

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 |  Feb 08 2012, 6:39 PM

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The Nissan NV200 is a functional cargo van looking to steal some business away from the Ford Transit Connect here in North America, and was just unveiled at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.

Over 40 countries worldwide are already supplied with the NV200; today is strictly the little van’s North American debut. The NV200 has done quite well for itself globally, winning the 2010 International Van of the Year award in Europe, the 2010 Commercial Delivery Van (CDV) of the Year in China and the 2011 Universal Design Award from Universal Design GMbH, which would suggest that the NV200 will do well for itself in North America.

The NV200 measures in at 186.2 inches in overall length riding on a 115.2-inch wheelbase that offers 123 cubic feet of storage space. That length is 7.9 inches longer in North America than the rest of the global market. Nissan also estimates the van is capable of carrying 1,500 lbs of payload. The NV200 is can also fit a standard 40×48-inch pallet in its cargo area. To bolster the idea of the NV200 being a utility vehicle, six floor-mounted cargo hooks are available for the rear of the van as well as standard mounting points in the walls where shelves and racks can be installed.

The interior of the NV200 tries to emulate a mobile office with a laptop storage spot, a place to hang files, a pen tray and of course cupholders all embedded in the center console. The passenger seat is fully foldable to further aid the driver’s office experience by functioning as a desk or by offering more storage space for particularly long items.

Driving the NV200 is a 2.0-liter 16-valve DOHC 4-cylinder engine mated to Nissan’s Xtronic CVT transmission. While it may not be a power house, the NV200 should get reasonable fuel economy, an important factor for buyers interested in the van for working vehicle fleets.

GALLERY: 2013 Nissan NV200

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 |  Feb 08 2012, 4:57 PM

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You wouldn’t expect a Kia to be the star of an auto show. Then again, you probably wouldn’t expect a 250 hp, widebody Kia Soul.

Unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show, the wildly modified Track’ster is just a concept… for now. Kia has announced that while it has no plans to bring this specific car to market, company execs are awaiting market reaction to judge if a high-performance crossover is in the cards for Kia.

GALLERY: Kia Track’ster Concept

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Find out more about the Track’ster below and let us know if you think Kia should build a high performance crossover:

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 |  Feb 08 2012, 4:16 PM

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Nobody expected there to be a second car under cloth at the GMC display this morning, but two CUVs were ready to bare it all shortly after 9 a.m. today at the Chicago Auto Show.

The fancier version designed for more luxury-oriented customers gets a host of upgrades meant to set it apart from the standard model.

“When designing the new Acadia, we considered the contemporary shapes and materials GMC buyers expect from many products they buy,” said Dave Lyon, executive director of design for the Acadia. “The Denali’s attention to detail is the ultimate demonstration of that.”

In a side interview, he said they chose to make the Denali’s interior look “a little warmer, to soften the feeling.” He also mentioned that the steering wheel’s wood inserts are made of real wood, where the standard model gets “real aluminum, but fake wood. Most people just want it to look good. We had trouble getting the aluminium to match the real wood [in the standard model],” he said.

Aside from nice visual touches, the Denali comes with standard blind spot monitoring and cross traffic alert systems, which are options in the cheaper model.

The exterior is rethought as well, including a shining chrome grille, 20-inch machined wheels and a chrome exhaust. Customers also get lower, redesigned front and rear fascias. The wrap-around rear window, which is new to both models, gives the Denali an especially luxurious look with tinted windows wrapping around the back and accenting the wheels.

Both the Denali and standard models will be available at dealerships late this year, though pricing details haven’t been announced yet.

GALLERY: 2013 GMC Acadia Denali

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Watch AutoGuide’s first look video of the Acadia Denali and Acadia below:

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 |  Feb 08 2012, 3:48 PM

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The one percent is doing just fine in the Midwest. At least that’s what you’d be lead to believe if you dropped by the Lexus stand at the Chicago Auto Show.

There you’ll find a stunning display of not one, not two, not three, but four Lexus LFA supercars. Priced at an exorbitant $375,000 (each), you’re looking at $1.5 million dollars in total. Is that a ton of cash? You bet! But if you look at it another way, it’s also 40 cylinders, generating 2,208 hp.

For more on the Chicago Auto Show, see our complete coverage page here.

GALLERY: Lexus LFA Collection

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