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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.
Caring about concept cars takes a lively sense of wonder and a little bit of short-sighted foolishness, at least in most cases.
These sleek, snazzy models appear long enough to tantalize the public and capture imaginations, only to disappear with the show just like a stage performer. What happens, then, when the crowd chants an encore, when they insatiably demand another taste? Sometimes nothing. On the other hand, the flattered performer may return to deliver.
The LF-LC hybrid concept that garnered lavish praise and the EyesOn award for its striking design is proving to have lasting popularity. So much so that Lexus is taking notice.
“This is just a concept at this point, but judging from the fantastic reception it received at the recent Detroit auto show, people want us to build it.,” Yoshi Inaba, president and COO of Toyota Motor North America said.
For anyone who missed out on what was undeniably one of the most striking scenes in Detroit this year, the LF-LC hybrid concept car featured striking exterior styling with the opposing Lexus “L” grille that is already making its way into new models. The interior featured wild, organic, curvy designs that integrated new technology like speed-sensitive touch pads to lower and raise the windows.
It’s true that the car isn’t headed for production yet, but maybe Lexus can be coaxed if the crowd keeps chanting.
GALLERY: Lexus LF-LC concept
We got our first look at it there and were impressed to say the least. The LF-LC concept introduces bold styling choices that force the car apart from the crowd both inside and out.
Smooth, swooping lines and rich leather mix with tastefully placed touch screens to deliver an organic feel that exudes luxury. Lexus us still mum on specific details behind the drivetrain aside from admitting that it will be a hybrid capable of offering both performance and efficiency.
Three days ago the company posted a video that gives an in-depth look at the car coming as close as possible to touching it without actually being there. While we have actually had that privilege, you probably haven’t.
Even still, there were a few facts to be gleaned from the video. For example, technical details on how the window controls work, but why not just watch the video below and see for yourself.
GALLERY: Lexus LF-LC concept
The Lincoln MKZ concept that debuted in Detroit earlier this month gave us an olfactory tingle in more than one place after the display started inexplicably smoking in front of us much to its presenter’s chagrin. Despite all that, the MKZ wasn’t the hottest Lincoln design to make the scene.
Instead, the car that’s still capturing imaginations is the 2025 Lincoln Continental EV concept, pictured above. It’s the brainchild of two undergraduate students from Lawrence Technological University in Michigan. Colin Bonathan and Jeeho Cha are a part of the transportation design program at Lawrence Tech and started on the project last summer. According to the school, Ford liked the concept so much that they decided to get behind it.
Beyond the fact that the student’s concept got exposure at the NAIAS, there isn’t any word on the likelihood of it passing the imaginary phase, though Bonathan did base the exterior on concrete figures like a desired wheelbase length and other components.
GALLERY: 2025 Lincoln Continental Concept
[Source: Lawrence Tech]
There`s an understanding in business that selling a lot means selling cheap. Unless you have a monopoly on the water supply, sales numbers don`t hit astronomical heights without stepping into volume pricing territory. Toyota spent the last decade worshiping that philosophy and consequently kept the Camry on top.
Given the Japanese automaker’s decade of domination, it is easy to assume that Ford will be gunning to take that position with their new Fusion sedan. After all, it’s sporting a sexy new look that’s eye-catching to say the least and before Toyota got hold of the spotlight, the Ford Taurus actually held that title between 1992 and 1996.
Despite the rivalry-ridden history, it seems Ford prefers to improve their product and walk a slightly different line by maintaining a balance that focuses a hair more on quality than volume. In fact, research by IHS Automotive suggests that the company doesn’t even have the capacity to outproduce Toyota.
It wasn’t so long ago that the Ford name brought snide remarks like “found on road dead” or “fix or repair daily” to mind. Well, we have yet to drive the 2013 Fusion, but based on what we saw at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month, it’s shaping up to be a real contender.
So much so, that Ford is actually looking at increasing their production capacity. In fact interest in the car on Edmunds.com jumped 49 percent after the reveal.
Toyota will be hot on Ford’s heels, though, having recovered from the damage their production suffered after last year’s tsunami. When all is said and done, Ford will have the capacity to build 400,000 Fusions per year and Toyota will be capable of producing 500,000 Camrys. Last year the Camry took the top spot by selling just over 308,000, where the Fusion moved just over 248,000 units. Neither company is expected to maximize their capacity in the coming year.
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Fusion
[Source: Automotive News]
It’s a look into the future says Toyota. Unveiled last week at the Detroit Auto Show, the NS4 plug-in hybrid concept was built to showcase a new plug-in hybrid model Toyota is planning that will sit separate from the Prius in its lineup. The car will get a next-generation hybrid drivetrain and also features several safety technologies that Toyota will add to its cars in the near future.
To find out more about the Toyota NS4 plug-in hybrid, watch our fist look video below.
GALLERY: Toyota NS4 Plug-in Hybrid Concept
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Tour the North American International Auto Show from the comfort of your home, office, or wherever you are with AutoGuide’s complete video coverage of the annual Detroit event. From concept cars like the new Acura NSX (above) to the Lexus LF-LC (just below), there were also plenty of interesting and exciting production models on display including the 2013 Ford Fusion, Cadillac ATS and Dodge Dart.
Watch all of AutoGuide’s 2012 Detroit Auto Show Videos below:
Buick has achieved two straight years of growth and the brand is looking to keep up the momentum, targeting new buyers with unconventional new products. The Enclave SUV kicked-off the new Buick and it’s been a smash success, and even near the end of its product cycle continues to be the brand’s best seller. So if one crossover is a good idea, two must be better… right?
That thinking has spawned the Encore, a sub-compact crossover, that’s a step down in size from GM models like the Chevy Equinox. Rather than being based on a compact car platform like the Cruze, it’s based on the sub-compact Sonic.
For more on the Encore, watch AutoGuide’s first look video from the Detroit Auto Show below.
GALLERY: 2013 Buick Encore
If it’s impossible, implausible or just plain awesome and you can’t have it in real life, there’s always going to be video games to let you live out the fantasy.
Amid the buzz building around the new Acura NSX, we can’t help but think to ourselves that it would be nice to just jump in and drive the thing. No waiting around, just instant gratification like a kid in Toys-R-Us. The good news is, as you get older the toys tend to get way cooler and in this case more accessible.
Polyphony Digital, the creators behind the wildly successful Gran Turismo racing game series, have released a video featuring both the old and new versions of the Acura NSX ripping around a track. In addition to teasing the distinct possibility that Playstation 3 owners may soon get to “drive” the NSX, it features some of the key details released at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, including the fact that the car is a mid-mounted V6 hybrid using three electric motors. Gamers, power up your consoles.
Watch the video on the after the jump.
10. Chevy Tru 140S Concept
For some of the more minor auto shows, a Top 10 list of the most important cars often covers most of the new debuts, but not so at the North American International Auto Show. Held each January in Detroit it’s the obvious launch site for major products by the Big Three domestic automakers and over the years has also become the venue for important new models by the rest of the auto industry.
Domestics made their mark at this year’s Detroit show, starting with one very different concept car revealed by Chevrolet. Called the Tru 140S it may look like some outrageously fast and expensive exotic machine, but it’s neither. Based on the same front-drive platform as the Chevy Cruze, it is powered by the same 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which makes just 138 hp in that car. Designed, along with the Code 130R concept, as part of an initiative to attract youth buyers back to the brand, Chevy seems serious about the concept, even announcing that if it made production, the target price would be around the $20,000 mark.
Taking a page out of Ford’s playbook, Nissan appears ready to follow suit in the move from SUVs to crossovers announcing that the 2013 Pathfinder will ride on a car-based unibody platform rather than a body-on-frame truck chassis. Over a year ago, Ford made a similar switch with its new Explorer.
As a concept Nissan hasn’t released many specifics about the car but has said it will be powered by a V6 with a CVT transmission and will continue to offer seating for seven. For more on the new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder concept check out AutoGuide’s first look video from the floor of the Detroit Auto Show below.
GALLERY: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Concept
The compact car category continues to grow and is increasingly becoming the most important and highest volume segment in America. For years Chrysler hasn’t had a competitive offering, something it is looking to change with the all-new Dodge Dart.
Sharing its underpinnings with an Alfa Romeo it’s the direct result of the tie-up between Chrysler and Fiat, with all the benefits that can have.Included in the list of rather European specs listed for the Dart are a fully-independent rear suspension and an optional turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder mated to a dual-clutch transmission.
Unveiled this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, see AutoGuide’s first look video of the 2013 Dodge Dart below.
GALLERY: 2013 Dodge Dart
Expanding the Prius range of vehicles to four, the new “c” model is the smallest and most affordable Prius yet. Toyota also promises it will be the most fun to drive and it will get an even higher fuel economy rating than the standard Prius with 53 mpg combined. Unveiled this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, watch AutoGuide’s first look video of the Prius c below.
GALLERY: Toyota Prius c
With a recently launched new Camry and Ford unveiling the production version of the new Fusion mid-size sedan at the Detroit Auto Show, Honda previewed its next-generation Accord with a stylish concept coupe. With no dramatic new styling changes, the 9th generation Accord will be the first Honda to receive the brand’s new lineup of powertrains, including direct-injection 4-cylinder and V6 engines as well as CVT transmissions. Plus, the Accord will get an innovative new hybrid system. To learn more about the next-gen Accord, watch AutoGuide’s first look video below.
GALLERY: 2013 Honda Accord Coupe Concept
With the new Veloster Turbo seemingly making the Genesis Coupe 2.0T a bit redundant in Hyundai‘s lineup, the Korean automaker has decided to up the power rating of the car to widen the gap. And with the 2.0T motor now up significantly , the V6 then gets a noticeable improvement too. Unveiled this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, watch our first look video below for all the details.
GALLERY: 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
With a new flagship supercar planned in the NSX Concept, Acura also unveiled a new entry-level model at the Detroit Auto Show this week. Called the ILX, it’s based on the new Honda Civic platform, but significantly modified. It also gets some distinct bodywork and three unique engine choices, including a hybrid option – the first time ever for an Acura.
Find out more about the Acura ILX by watching AutoGuide’s First Look Video below.
GALLERY: 2013 Acura ILX
Along with the new Sonic RS hot hatch, Chevy unveiled two surprising new concept cars at the Detroit Auto Show. Complete with awkward concept car names the two vehicles certainly don’t look awkward – or at least the Tru 140S doesn’t. As for the Code 130R, it brings some American muscle car styling to the compact coupe segment.
Perhaps most surprising is the platform and engines that these two youth-targeted sports cars share. To find out more, watch AutoGuide’s First Look video of the Tru 140S and Code 130R below.
GALLERY: Chevy Tru 140S
GALLERY: Chevy Code 130R
Although the concept version of Subaru‘s rear-drive BRZ, displayed at the 2011 LA Auto Show back in November, looked close to production ready, we’ve now seen the real thing, which made it’s North American Debut this week at the Detroit Auto Show.
Powered by new generation FA-Series 2.0-liter Boxer four-cylinder, generating 200 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque, the production BRZ boasts one of the lowest centers of gravity of any car in the world and is also among the lightest two-door coupes on the market, weighing in at a relatively bantam 2,762 lbs. That makes it some 300 lbs less than the Lotus Evora and a whopping 500 lbs less than the Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
With a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions (the latter with sport and manual paddle shifts), plus pedals optimized for heel and toe downshifting, along with an optimized front strut suspension and independent rear, the BRZ promises to be one of the most fun to drive cars available in American when it goes on sale as a 2013 model.
We’ve already tested it’s sister car, the Scion FR-S, and you can read that review here.
GALLERY: 2013 Subaru BRZ
Discuss this story at SubaruBRZforum.com
MINI is bringing a race inspired convertible into the market with the unveiling of the Roadster at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. This is the first two seater open topped vehicle in the English brand’s history and makes the MINI lineup six vehicles strong after the recent introduction of the Coupe (read our review here).
The Roadster will be offered with four engine options, although the Diesel variant will not be offered in North America. The John Cooper Works packaged Roadster will be the largest engine offering possible for the MINI with a 1.6-liter twinpower turbo putting out 208 hp and accelerating the roadster from 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds. The MINI Cooper S Roadster will be outfiitted with the same 1.6L twinpower turbo, but without some of the race inspired upgrades of the JCW Roadster, and will crank out 181 hp and run from 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds . The MINI Cooper Roadster is the base model and will sport the 1.6L four cylinder as well, but without the turbo unit, and will generate 121 hp and run 0-60 mph in 8.7 seconds.
The MINI Roadster borrows quite a few features from MINI’s race teams, including a rear spoiler which lifts at 50 mph, stainless steel roll bars, an Electronic Differential Lock Control, and even the choice of sport stripes for the exterior. These features come standard with JCW edition of the roadster. The MINI Roadster also stands 20mm lower than the MINI convertible which shows the cars push to be sportier and even better handling then any of MINI’s other offerings.
In terms of looks, the Roadster keeps all the same classic MINI styling like the round headlights and half moon grill, but appears a little more race inspired thanks to the lower stance, harder swept back windshield and low to the ground skirts.
All in all the MINI Roadster looks like a fun little car.
GALLERY: MINI Roadster
Corporate Average Fuel Economy targets for 2015 and beyond mean that all automakers selling vehicles in the US need to find a way to improve fleet efficiency without facing the risk of hefty fines.
For luxury automakers, traditionally seen as standard bearers of large displacement engines, this has meant a radical re-think when it comes to engine technology. Audi‘s flagship sedan, long recognized as a home for V8 power, is now joining the fray, with two downsized engines, a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 and later a 3.0 diesel in the works.
This will mark the first time that either engine has been offered in the A8, though with some 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque on tap, the V6 supercharged should prove no slouch.
As for the diesel, not much information is currently available, suffice to say that it will likely differ in power output from the European version due to emissions requirements for oil burners here in the US (at present the engine is undergoing certification). Stay tuned for further developments.
GALLERY: Audi A8L 3.0T
Although Mercedes also plans to offer an E300 Hybrid that combines a 27 hp electric motor and battery back with a 2.0 liter four-cylinder diesel engine that develops 201 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque; that car is targeted primarily at Europe. In the US, which shows a preference for gas/electric hybrids, a direct injected V6 will be teamed with the electric motor system instead, resulting in the E400 Hybrid.
Rated at 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, in terms of fuel economy, Mercedes says the E400 Hybrid should deliver approximately 24 miles per gallon in city driving and 31 mpg on the open road.
According to Dr. Thomas Weber, who heads up Daimler AG’s passenger car development and research programs, the two E-Class Hybrids aim “to offer precisely the models which our customers want,” while providing “a clear reduction in fuel consumption as well as a very impressive driving experience.”
The E400 Hybrid is scheduled to arrive in US dealers during the second quarter of 2012, with deliveries expected to follow in other markets, notably China and Japan.
GALLERY: Mercedes E400 Hybrid
It should come as little surprise that Volkswagen has unveiled a new Jetta Hybrid at the Detroit Auto Show. After all, the Jetta itself was designed to appeal more to American tastes and something Americans increasingly love are hybrids.
Powered by an all-new hybrid engine and getting an incredibly high fuel economy rating, watch the video below to find out more.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid
A concept minivan, little information was available on it at the show. All we could get from Chrysler was that the 700C is “a styling exercise, designed to gauge public reaction.”
When Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne toured the Windsor assembly plant which builds the current Dodge Grand Caravan and Town & Country models, he talked about “big plans for the future,” though declined to reveal much more.
With minivan sales still a staple part of the Chrysler’s business in North America, yet the segment for the most part suffering from a lack of new investment, perhaps the time has come to reinvent the concept of what a minivan should be.
And if the Chrysler 700C concept is any indication, that might just result in the most exciting people mover seen in more than a quarter of a century.