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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.
If there’s one car that we’ve been looking forward to seeing at this year’s New York Auto Show, more than any other, it’s the next generation Viper. Very nearly sold off during Chrysler‘s turbulent years under Cerberus, like any great icon, it managed to endure.
Not only that, but even before the last fourth generation SRT 10 examples were rolling out the door, a plan was underway to introduce a new one; an American super car re-imagined for the 21st century. Now it’s been revealed to the world for the first time.
Ralph Gilles, President and CEO of Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology Brand perhaps summed it up best. “Beyond being the flagship for the new SRT brand, the launch of the 2013 Viper proves that we simply would not let the performance icon of the Chrysler Group die,” he said to raucous reception. Indeed.
Show stopping. At a glamorous event like the Geneva Motor Show, it often takes a lot to really stand apart from the herd, yet in Ferrari’s case, the F12 Berlinetta does just that. With the stand mobbed by members of the press, Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo, officially announced the introduction of the latest in a long line of V12 engined hyper cars.
The F12 Berlinetta replaces the 599 Fiorano and while it shares the same basic format, it’s significantly different, being smaller and lighter, with an all-new lightweight alloy space frame chassis and suspension. The V12, which di Montezemolo described as for “a new generation”, is an evolution of that first seen in the FF, but has been tuned to produce more power - a walloping 730 hp, while helping the F12 deliver up to 30 percent better fuel economy.
With a 46/54 front/rear weight distribution, a lower center of gravity than the 599, plus what Ferrari calls AeroBridge technology (which directs air from the hood down the sides of the car to increase downforce), fully integrated stability and traction control, plus Active Brake Cooling (which adjusts the flow of air to the brakes depending on temperature), the F12, despite its somewhat conservative styling (which is already generating polarizing views), is a worthy successor to the 599 and a car that can trace its bloodline directly back to the much revered 275 and 365 GTB/4 models.
Watch our Ferrari F12 Berlinetta first look video below.
GALLERY: Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
GALLERY: Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
Lamborghini knows how to steal the show. The exotic Italian automaker’s standard production models are always enough to grab headlines, but this very custom one-off “speedster”, unveiled today at the Geneva Motor Show, is beyond wild.
Called a “one of a kind piece of art” by Lamborghini, the open-top Aventador has tiny windscreens and a body modified for maximum performance. Based on a similar light weight but very large carbon fiber chassis as the Aventador, it’s slightly narrower and uses aerodynamic changes on the front and rear bumper to improve downforce.
A function-over form machine (even if it is beautiful), the Aventador J, as it’s called, has no navigation or audio system. Thinner and lighter doors drop even more weight and Lambo has targeted a dry weight of under 3,500 lbs – not bad for a car with a 6.5-liter V12 engine. Power is rated identically to the Aventador with 700 hp on tap.
Painted in a chrome red with carbon fiber detailing, the 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels are center locking and get carbon fiber inserts to maximize cooling of the brakes.
As for that mysterious J in its name, it comes from the FIA motorsports rule book, where “Appendix J” details the specifications of the different classes of race cars. That said, while Lambo is calling it a race car, the Aventador J is street legal. Want one? Too bad, this is the one and only Aventador J and it’s already been sold confirmed company CEO Stephan Winkelmann at it’s unveiling. The price? A serious $2.1 million.
GALLERY: Lamborghini Aventador J
10. 2012 Porsche 911 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!
Kia, you’re such a tease. Today at the Chicago Auto Show, the Korean automaker revealed what it’s calling the Trak’ster Concept. But this sport cross came with a disclaimer, “there are no current plans to produce the Track’ster”.
Of course, that has to be the case, with this wild widebody and 250 hp turbocharged Soul just too extreme for the road.
Expanding on Kia’s Optima Super Bowl ad with the tag line “A Dream Car for Real Life”, the Track’ster was created to show what happens when a dream becomes a reality.
Designed to add some bulldog aggressions says Tom Kearns, chief designer for Kia Motors America, along with some significantly wider fender flares that add 5-inches to the width of the factory car, the Track’ster has a sportier appeal thanks to the removal of two doors. Inside the big fenders are 19-inch HRE wheels with 245 wide front tires and 285 wide rears. Keeping with the track theme, braking potential has also been upgraded with 6-piston front calipers and 14-ich rotors, while out back are four-piston units with 13.6-inch disks.
Power is generated by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cyinder making 250 hp – a 66 percent increase over the standard car. That power makes it to the ground through an electronically controlled four-wheel drive system and (of course) a six-speed manual transmission.
The interior of the Tack’ster further conveys its track-ready capabilities with orange suede racing seats up front. The rear seating area has been removed to make room for a spare tire and the tools you’ll need to work on your car at the track.
As though teasing us with such an impressive performance crossover and then denying plans to build it weren’t bad enough, Kearns continues to tease us more, commenting that concept cars like this, “allow KMA’s design team to dream about what could be. Whether that dream becomes a reality or not is a separate question.”
GALLERY: 2013 Kia Track’ster Concept
GALLERY: 2013 Kia Track’ster Reveal
Looking nothing like a Civic, with a sleek Acura design, it’s actually significantly larger, measuring 2-inches more end-to-end and almost half a foot more in width. The wheelbase, however, remains the same.
Powering the ILX are a choice of three engines, starting with an entry-level 2.0-liter 4-cylinder – essentially an up-sized version of the 1.8-liter found in the Civic. It makes a total of 150 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque and with a 5-speed automatic will get modest, but not exactly shocking, 24 city and 32 highway mpg rating.
Those in search of fuel economy can opt for the ILX Hybrid – the first time Acura has even offered a hybrid model. Using a similar setup to that found in the Civic Hybrid it makes 111 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque using a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder mated to Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system. A rudimentary hybrid setup, it does make use of a lithium-ion battery pack and gets 35/38 mpg, significantly less than the 44/44 mpg rating in the Civic Hybrid.
Performance aficionados will appreciate the 2.4-liter model, available with a six-speed manual transmission. Borrowing the engine from the Civic Si, it makes 201 hp.
Notable standard featured include a dynamic suspension system, “motion adaptive” electric power steering and a keyless access system with push-button ignition.
Available options include a Premium Package with leather, heated front seats, a rear view camera, an active noise cancellation system and an upgraded 360 watt audio system. A Technology Package then adds Acura’s ELS surround sound audio system and navigation with voice recognition.
Acura has confirmed the ILX will not replace the TSX, but will be the brand’s new entry-level offering, starting at “well below” $30,000.
GALLERY: 2013 Acura ILX
GALLERY: 2013 Acura ILX Reveal
Watch our first look Video of the ILX below:
The automotive aftermarket and motorsports have a lot in common, so it’s no surprise to see both celebrated together at venues like the Tokyo Auto Salon. On hand to cover the latest tuning trends from Japan, AutoGuide decided a closer look at the numerous race cars on display, from Formula cars to custom machines and plenty of hardware from the world famous Super GT series.
See below for extensive galleries on some of the most jaw-droppingly amazing race cars:
Racing a Prius might sound like the start of a joke, until you see this. Unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon in Japan, this Toyota Prius is fully prepped and sporting its race livery. Significantly wider and lower than a factor model, this Prius is designed to compete in Japan’s Super GT racing series starting this year.
Regulations in the series are loose, so there’s little left of the original Prius here, although the original’s sleek aerodynamic shape is still obvious. Also of note is that the car appears to retain a hybrid drivetrain with the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive logo on the back. Another hint is the massive sponsorship by Panasonic, which supplies the batteries for the road car.
Exactly how this hybrid racer will do remains to be seen and we’ll have to wait for the first round of the Super GT series in March to find out.
GALLERY: Toyota Prius Race Car
The GT 86 will spawn a new legion of fanboys for the Toyota brand – a result it was purpose-built to achieve. And if there’s one thing die-hard automotive enthusiasts love more than spouting off engine and chassis codes, it’s factory performance parts. In this case: Toyota Racing Development… or TRD for short.
With Toyota unveiling its new GT 86 sports car at the Tokyo Motor Show in early December, the automaker has now rolled out the TRD version at the Tokyo Auto Salon – Japan’s largest aftermarket event. Available TRD accessories for the GT 86 (sold in North America as the Scion FR-S – read our review here), include a new front lip and rear trunk-lid spoiler.
Also available are larger 18-inch TRD wheels, which can fit wider 225 tires, plus a TRD brake upgrade. Adding a slight dose of extra power is a TRD exhaust system, while a suite of suspension components will also be offered.
Toyota has yet to confirm as much, but it will offer a long list of TRD goodies for the Scion FR-S in North America.
GALLERY: Toyota GT 86 TRD
See AutoGuide’s complete 2012 Tokyo Auto Salon Coverage here and discuss this story at FR-SForum.com
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.
The all new super car has lost some weight thanks to lightweight build materials and Acura’s race inspired philosophy of a well balanced power to weight ratio. The new NSX will be powered my a mid-mounted direct injection VTEC V6 engine which will utilize Acura’s hybrid super handling all wheel drive system. The SH-AWD system consists of two electric engines which operate independently of each other and can generate positive or negative torque to the front wheels during cornering. The V6 SH-AWD system will be paired with a dual clutch transmission outfitted with its own electric motor giving the NSX three separate electric power plants.
The styling on the new NSX is very much a classic supercar look, using low ground clearance, aggressive angles in the nose, a very low profile roof line and a windswept look running into a small rear spoiler to achieve its supercar style. Hard angles are all over the NSX which gives it a very rigid and serious stance.
President and CEO of Honda Motor Co. Takanobu Ito said, “In this new era, even as we focus on the fun to drive spirit of the NSX, I think a supercar must respond positively to environmental responsibilities.” Ito also revealed that the NSX will be a production model within the next three years and it will be built in an Ohio car plant.
GALLERY: Acura NSX Concept
GALLERY: Acura NSX Concept
Watch AutoGuide’s first look video of the new NSX below:
Cadillac has been steadily improving its products for a decade, shedding its old man stigma in favor of a new brand identity, favoring luxury with a performance twist. After all this time, on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show, the GM luxury division is finally ready to put its money where its mouth is, launching the ATS as a direct rival to the segment leading BMW 3 Series.
With a choice of a 4-cylinder, turbo 4-cylinder or V6, the ATS matches solid power with one of the lowest curb weights in the segment, with Caddy claiming the ATS will come in at under 3,400 lbs.
Weight reduction was key in the development of the ATS, helping to maximize the performance and efficiency of the powertrains while making the vehicle more nimble overall. Cadillac says every component of the vehicle was checked to see if a lighter alternative could be found. To help keep weight to a minimum the ATS features an aluminum hood, magnesium engine mounts and “natural-fiber” door trim panels. The result shows in the vehicle’s balance as well, with a 51/49 weight distribution.
Based on an all-new rear-drive architecture, the ATS uses a MacPherson front suspension and the brand’s first 5-link independent rear end. Both automatic and manual transmissions will be offered, as will all-wheel drive.
To maximize performance the ATS comes with an adjustable Magnetic Ride Control suspension standard, a ZF variable electric steering system and 17-inch wheels. Brembo brakes and 18-inch wheels are optional.
As mentioned, three powertrains will be available with a base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder making 200 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque. A mid-level turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder will deliver 270 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque from just 2400 rpm, while a top-level direct-injection 3.6L V6 makes 318 hp and 267 lb-ft. Cadillac says the ATS will get over 30 mpg highway – aided in part by grille shutters that close at highways speeds.
In terms of design, the ATS is clearly a Cadillac, with an overall shape similar to that of the CTS, while taking design cues from the new XTS flagship sedan. Most evident is a wider two-piece grille that’s still imposing but toned-down on the chrome.
Inside the cabin is a solid leap forward, using real wood, metal and carbon fiber as well as hand-stitched leather on the instrument panel, console and doors. Numerous color options are available and Cadillac says the cabin was designed to offer a driver-focused experience. Of note, sport seats with power-adjustable side bolsters will be available.
A focal point in the cabin is Cadillac’s new CUE telematics system, designed to be both high-tech and easy-to-use, with iPad like controls on the 8-inch LCD screen.
In addition, Cadillac has stuffed its new car with numerous safety and convenience technologies that include: a back-up camera, full speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, adaptive forward lighting, hill hold assist, a collision alert system and even intelligent brake assist that will stop the car on its own (going forward or in reverse) if a collision is detected.
“More than just another new entry, the ATS aims to change the status quo of the European-dominated segment,” says Caddy VP of marketing Don Butler.
The 2013 Cadillac ATS will go on sale this summer.
GALLERY: 2013 Cadillac ATS
Overwhelming proof that wagons, and for that matter hybrids, can in fact be cool, is the Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept. Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show today, the car is powered by the next evolution of Subaru’s hybrid powertrain that is expected to arrive in a production model in 2013.
A followup to the Hybrid Tourer Concept, this uses a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder direct-injection boxer gasoline engine mated to an in-house hybrid system – not a Toyota product. It features both regenerative braking and a lithium-ion battery back, both increasingly standard-fare in the hybrid market. Of note, the ATC also features an electric all-wheel drive system (this is a Subaru after all), operating as a front-drive model under most circumstances, while electric power can be sent to the rear wheels for added grip.
Purposeful features aside, the ATC is simply stunning, with a sleek wagon body and aggressive stance. It also might be the least-tacky example of scissor doors we’ve come across, paired with rear suicide doors, allowing an incredible look into the stunning cabin complete with plenty of natural wood.
GALLERY: Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept
See video of the Advanced Tourer Concept below:
The star attraction of Honda’s Tokyo Motor Show press conference is an all-new electric sports car concept. Initially billed as the Small Sports EV Concept, at it’s debut Honda is now referring to the car as the EV-STER.
The rear wheel drive two seater looks like a spiritual successor to the Beat sporty car. Measuring 3,570 mm or 140 inches it’s about two feet shorter than the Honda S2000. With a max electric output of 58 kW (or 78 hp) Honda claims a 0-60 time in 5.0 seconds. Sound too good to be true? It is. That’s 0-60 km/h, not miles.
Honda claims a 160 km (100 mile) range, roughly equivalent to its new Fit EV, with a 6 hour charge using a conventional plug and a 3 hour charge time with a 200 volt outlet.
GALLERY: Honda EV-STER
See video of the car below:
With photos of Subaru‘s new BRZ sports car already floating around the net, perhaps the real star of the Subaru booth at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show is the BRZ Super GT race car. Built to compete in Japan’s Super GT series, in which cars often have little to do with their production versions, the car will compete in the GT300 class replacing the current STI Legacy race car.
As the name suggests, the class horsepower rating sits right around the 300 mark, a 50 percent increase over the production BRZ 2.0-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine.
GALLERY: Subaru BRZ Super GT Race Car
Discuss this story at SubaruBRZForum.com and see video of the car below:
Porsche took the wraps off their Panamera GTS sedan Wednesday at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, billing it as “The Purest Panamera Yet”. The Panamera GTS offers a 30 horsepower increase over the standard Panamera 4 and Panamera 4S, and comes with standard all-wheel drive and a 7-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox – no manual transmission will be available.
Upgraded brakes, a 10mm lowered ride height and Porsche Active Suspension Management are all standard, as are 5mm wheel spacers to give the car a wider track. Bespoke interior fittings distinguish the Panamera GTS from plebian versions. A revised intake and exhaust will give the driver more seductive V8 engine sounds, and a standard Sport Chrono pack and Launch Control allow for a rawer driving experience.
The exterior is given minor aesthetic tweaks, as well as an adjustable spoiler borrowed from the Panamera Turbo, but only the Porsche faithful will be able to spot the real differences. GTS motifs, both inside and out, complete the whole package. Pricing has not been announced.
Hit the jump for the official press release
Gallery: Porsche Panamera GTS
After debuting a 3-door Fiesta ST Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Ford has revealed a new 5-door version in Los Angeles today. Ford has made it clear that it will offer its vehicles globally, and so while the 3-door version will presumably be offered in Europe, this 5-door is all-but confirmed to be U.S.-bound.
Hot hatches have always been a popular segment amongst the tuner crowd, but only in the compact class – at least in North America. Now Ford is hinting it will bring the power level down a segment, with a 180-hp version of the Fiesta. That power comes from the brand’s new 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder with 177 lb-ft of torque.
Styling is inspired by the Fiesta WRC rally cars with an aggressive front end, aero kit and 17-inch wheels.
So will ford offer a 180-hp Fiesta in North America. We’d bet on it.
GALLERY: Ford Fiesta ST Concept 5-Door
You know that picture of Calvin taking a wizz on a Chevy symbol? The one you’d find on the back of a Ford? This is what that looks like in real life.
Unveiled on the eve of the 2011 LA Auto Show, Ford has upped the ante, topping Chevy’s already insanely powerful 570-hp Camaro ZL1 with what it bills as the world’s most powerful production V8. The 2013 Shelby GT500 boasts a new 5.8-liter aluminum unit that has been mated to a new supercharger and the total output is a whopping 650-hp, with 600 lb-ft of torque. Ford hasn’t released any 0-60 times for the car (traction is certain to be an issue), but has said the car will top out at over (yes, over) 200-mph!
Along with an even more aggressive front fascia and a massive splitter, the GT500 gets a long list of upgrades, including a new clutch, transmission and 3.31 final drive gears. There’s also 6-piston front Brembo brakes with larger rotors all around and more aggressive pads.
A Performance Pack adds a Torsen limited slip differential plus Bilstein shocks while a Track Pack adds an engine cooler, differential cooler and transmission cooler.
And as though this wasn’t enough to get anyone excited about driving the car, at it’s private unveiling last night, the man himself, Carroll Shelby, was on hand for the honors, and called this new car, “The greatest Mustang ever built.”
GALLERY: 2013 Shelby GT500
See video of the 2013 Shelby GT500 below:
Honda may in fact be closer to offering a supercharged CR-Z than expected. Tucked away in a corner of the Japanese automaker’s booth at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas is what Honda is calling the HPD CR-Z Supercharged Engine Concept.
This engine follows after the debut of the CR-Z Hybrid R Concept at last year’s SEMA Show, which used a similar supercharged 1.5-liter Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid engine to generate around 200-hp. It’s also remarkably similar to the supercharged 1.5-liter IMA built by Mugen.
Seemingly yet another concept that won’t make it to fruition, Kurt Antonius, Honda’s assistant vice president of public relations, dropped a big hint and urged us to take a second look at the engine. Raising our hopes of a 200-hp CR-Z, Antonius commented that the engine on display isn’t a highly-polished show piece like you might expect of a concept, but rather what appears to be a production-ready engine.
Antonius’ comments were enough to raise our eyebrows, and our hopes, but he was mum on any further comment. Will the CR-Z Hybrid R Concept eventually make it to production? Antonius admitted that Honda has taken a bit of a break from performance cars, but insisted that they’re coming back.
GALLERY: HPD CR-Z Supercharged Engine Concept
Forgiato, H&R Springs, Creations n’ Chrome and MRT Performance headlined Ford’s booth with four fantastic Pony creations that Henry Ford would be proud of. Showing off the versatility of Ford’s staple sports car, the four different builders/manufacturers truly created four different machines for us to enjoy.
Forgiato’s widebody Mustang did not disappoint, sporting massive 21-inch wheels in the front and 22-inch wheels in the rear. Ensuring that the wheels fit the body, Forgiato teamed up with TS Designs for a custom wide body while 3dCarbon’s Boy Racer body kit gives the Mustang plenty of bite in the styling department. To top it all off, the matte silver paint job from PPG makes the Mustang a true show stopper.
H&R’s Ford Mustang exemplifies performance while maintaining the Mustang’s classic and sleek lines. Even though we couldn’t see the Edelbrock E-Force supercharger under the hood, there’s no denying that this Mustang has the proper stance thanks to H&R’s RSS suspension kit. The Street Scene Equipment body kit and custom blue paint by Tri-Star Enterprise makes this one clean ‘Stang.
Clearly the flashiest of the four is Creations n’ Chrome’s Ford Mustang. Just one quick glance and the Spectra Chrome Boy Racer Red catches your attention like nothing else on the show floor – except maybe the Hot Wheels Camaro. The 18-inch HRE wheels nice and classy while the rest of the Mustang is contrasted by carbon fiber accents.
MRT Performance dubbed their Mustang “TKO” and clearly looks like a knock out. The orange and black two-tone paint job is offset by silver accents and the carbon fiber Forgestar wheels are a complete winner. H&R coilovers gives the Mustang a menacing stance on the show floor, backed by Baer Brakes and MRT’s brake ducts.
GALLERY: Forgiato Ford Mustang
GALLERY: H&R Ford Mustang
GALLERY: Creations n’ Chrome Ford Mustang
GALLERY: MRT Performance Ford Mustang
The 2011 SEMA Show isn’t officially open yet but we’ve obtained a few snap shots of one of the two Honda‘s being kept under wraps. Called the 2012 Civic Si HFP this more hard-edged version of the new Si might just be the car enthusiasts were hoping for.
While the list of the modifications includes such trivialities as floor mats and LED lights, there are some important changes that are sure to appeal to the enthusiast crowd. For starters, there’s a more aggressive aero kit – something this car desperately needed. But most importantly there’s a HFP suspension setup (the exact specs of which aren’t yet known), plus the car gets larger 18-inch wheels with some 215/40/18 Yokohama tires. These updates should hopefully address some of the complaints we had about the car’s softly spring suspension.
As for the other car, we don’t have any snap shots, but it’s purpose built race car by Honda-backed racing team Compass 360.
GALLERY: 2012 Honda Civic Si HFP
Discuss this story at 9thGenCivic.com