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The Durango has been a hit for Dodge, bringing back SUV buyers to a brand that has shed numerous products over the past few years.
While equipped with a standard (and efficient) 3.6-liter V6 engine, as a truck (and a sizable one at that), rising gas prices could send potential buyers away from the Durango and into something smaller. In order to keep pace with such changes Dodge is moving up the introduction of the 2014 model, which will see a several mile per gallon improvement thanks to a transmission with two extra gears.
According to one source the 2014 Durango will launch in May of 2013, sporting the same 8-speed automatic transmission that is already being used in the Chrysler 300 and which is expected to make its way under the hood of the Jeep Grand Cherokee soon.
In addition to that update, also look for the addition of the Chrysler brand’s larger 8.4-inch LCD screen as a part of the Uconnect system.
General Motors will end its internal-only approach to transmissions, opting to buy some 8-speed units from suppliers to mate with its upcoming twin-turbo V6. For the most part, however, GM will continue to develop and manufacture its own auto-boxes, with a new generation of 8-speed units arriving soon. But not soon enough.
While domestic rival Chrysler has already begun a roll-out of 8-speed units in its models, GM’s in-house developed units won’t be available until around 2016. As a result, many of GM’s exciting new flagship models won’t have an 8-speed at launch, instead relying on older 6-speed units.
Included in that list of models, reports GMInsideNews, are cars like the next-generation Cadillac CTS, Chevy Camaro and even the upcoming C7 Corvette. The 8-speed automatic transmission should arrive in time for a mid-cycle update on those cars. Expect the 8-speed auto to then arrive in GM’s full-size truck lineup about the same time.
As every automaker looks for ways to save fuel in order to meet the upcoming CAFE targets, Chrysler is proving that thrifty doesn’t necessarily have to mean small.
The company’s two full-size sedans, the rear-drive Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger are mostly recognized for their stature and performance (especially in SRT-8 form). But an eight-speed automatic transmission, which is scheduled for introduction this fall, both cars have a chance to deliver some surprising fuel economy numbers.
According to CEO Sergio Marchionne, the 3.6-liter V-6 versions of both sedans are expected to deliver around 31 miles per gallon on the highway, significantly improved from the current car (around 4 mpg better) and even thriftier than Japanese offerings such as the Honda Accord.
However, start adding V-8 engines and all-wheel drive into the mix and it’s likely such numbers will be harder to achieve (though Chrysler remains fairly buoyant on V-8 mpg estimates, stating the 5.7-liter Hemi engined cars are likely to get around 29 mpg on the open road). Technology such as more advanced cylinder deactivation and a front-wheel decoupling feature on AWD models, could mean that within a few years, there’s every chance these cars could return even higher numbers.
Source: [Automotive News]
Details of the upcoming second-generation BMW X3 have been confirmed by BMW, just a week after news broke of a 300-hp xDrive35i model. While a long list of engines will be offered in other markets, North American will likely get just two of them, a 268-hp 3.0-liter inline-six in the xDrive28i model and the 300ish horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six in the xDrive35i.
Both models are also set to come with a new 8-speed automatic transmission that should help deliver much improved fuel economy. Other fuel economy improvements will come through the use of a new electric power steering system and light weight materials to reduce the overall weight of the compact crossover. According to AutoCar, the base X3 xDrive20d model offered in Europe will weight as much as 50 lbs less than the outgoing model.
Other models set for Europe include the xDrive30d, with a 241-hp 3.0-liter diesel. It’s possible this engine or the 335d’s engine could be offered in North America as well.
Slotting in between the new X1 and X5 model, the X3 grows considerably measuring roughly 3.3-inches longer, one inch wider, and 1.5-inches higher. The wheelbase has been stretched by 15mm (roughly half an inch) which should not only add interior room but also deliver a more comfortable ride. Also helping int he ride department is a new Variable Damping Control system. The rear cargo area also expands to a total of 19.4 cubic feet.
BMW is expected to officially announce full X3 details in the coming months with the crossover’s official debut set for the Paris Auto Show this September. An ActiveHybrid model is expected to debut afterwards, possibly in 2012.
New fuel-saving drivelines and transmissions will appear starting in 2010
Auto parts maker and engineering firm ZF Friedrichshafen AG says that its new lineup of driveline modifications and transmissions, when combined, can deliver up to 18 percent better fuel-consumption on traditional gasoline powered cars. The results are even more impressive for hybrids, with total fuel-economy rising 30 percent.
Harald Naunheimer, VP of research at ZF delivered the news at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan, earlier this week. Naunheimer said all of his company’s new initiatives will make their way into production cars starting next year.
Included in the list of fuel-saving technologies are lighter transmissions with more gears, as well as electric, rather than mechanical, features. Electrical power steering can account for a savings of 2 to 3 percent, while electric active roll stabilizers add another 1 to 2 percent.
A start-stop function, which shuts off the engine at stop lights or when stuck in traffic, can save up to 5 percent while a new, lighter transfer case for all-wheel drive cars can add an additional 1 to 1.5 percent.
The single largest way to boost fuel-economy, however, is with a transmission with more gears. ZF says its new 8-speed box can deliver a 6 percent boost in fuel economy over a six-speed unit. Lexus already uses an 8-speed transmission and BMW recently launched a new 8-speed box in the flagship 760Li (pictured above). This, however, raises the issue of cost.
With an 8-speed in a six-figure BMW, we’re unlikely to see the same technology make it into a Toyota Corolla any time soon. Still, the race is on for improved fuel-consumption as the Obama Administration’s new CAFE regulations will see fleet averages for passenger cars rise to 35.5 mpg for 2016, up significantly from 27.3 mpg for 2011.
[Source: Automotive News]
Just yesterday Porsche brought us news of its new Cayenne Diesel and now the company has released further details of the upcoming Cayenne S Hybrid SUV.
Using the direct-injection supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine found in the new Audi S4 and A6, in the Cayenne S Hybrid that motor will be mated to a 52-hp electric motor that also makes an impressive 221 ft-lbs of torque. A 38 kw nickel metal hydride battery pack, which is small enough to fit in the Cayenne’s spare tire well, will store that energy. The electric motor will also act as an alternator.
Power will be put to the ground through a new 8-speed automatic transmission, with a Hybrid Manager to determine what mode the full–hybrid powertrain should be in. Top speed will occurring sixth-gear with the top two gears reserved for low rpm fuel-efficient highway driving.
The Hybrid Manager can select from: power from the combustion engine only, power from the electric motor only, and power from both sources. And it can change from mode to mode in just 300 milliseconds.
The Hybrid Manager has several other features as well, including allowing the vehicle to operate on pure electric power for up to 1.2 miles. It will also switch the electric motor to an alternator mode when only the combustion engine is being used, and then feed that power to the battery.
The Cayenne S Hybrid features several other innovations including electronically driven air conditioning, power steering and an electric drive pump that has been added to the transmission oil pump.
Available in 2010, Porsche says the Cayenne S Hybrid will emit 20 percent fewer emissions that a comparable engine and will achieve a combined fuel economy rating of 26 mpg. Impressively, it will also be able to hit 62 mph in just 6.8 seconds.
Official release after the jump: