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Top 10 Automotive Stories of 2012
With a heavy heart the staff of AutoGuide.com say goodbye to 2012, along with its triumphs and tragedies. We await the New Year with open arms, and welcome its promise of a better world.
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2012 was a year of the dragon, and it proved to be the stuff of legend, but thankfully it wasn’t a fire-breather. The Mayans were flat-out wrong; their doomsday prophecy was about as accurate as Bernie Madoff’s promise of a sound investment opportunity.
Still, the year brought other significant stories. Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland discovered a subatomic particle consistent with the legendary Higgs boson. Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, passed away, and in a brutal political battle Barack Obama won a second term as president of the United States.
Of course the automotive industry made its share of headlines throughout the year. Here’s a rundown of the Top 10 stories from the past 12 months.
Hosting its annual week-long Test Fest, the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada has announced its picks for Car of the Year in 11 categories with the Cadillac ATS and Ford Focus ST, among others, taking awards.
BMW gave its popular 3-Series a revamp for the 2013 model year with the sedan model revealed back in October. We knew the 3 Series wagon variant wouldn’t be far behind, having seen spy photos back in February and now the German automaker has made it official for the European market.
There are a lot of car stereotypes out there, like that Toyota builds dull appliances. While true on many fronts, the Japanese automaker does also make exciting sporty cars like the Scion FR-S, and Lexus LFA, both praised for their exhilarating rides, edgy styling and pulse-raising performance. But there’s another stereotype that needs to be dealt with.
Likely you’ve heard the phrase “German engineering” more than a few times in your life and there’s a popular misconception that it equals good reliability. German cars are well engineered, sometimes to be amazing performance machines and sometimes to be incredibly high-tech (and often both) but, Porsche aside, German cars don’t have the best track record for reliability.
Cadillac has just revealed the pricing for its 2013 Cadillac ATS sport sedan that is poised to take on the highly competitive segment. Available in three powertrains, and tested at various racetracks around the world, the ATS is looking to make a big splash in the sport sedan market.
Since the majority of the more affluent Chinese prefer to be chauffeured around, the 3-Series LWB gives the German automaker a more affordable option for fleets or company vehicles.
The wheelbase on the 3-Series LWB has been extended a tad over 4.3 inches and will come with the choice of three different engines. The BMW 320Li is a 2.0L four-cylinder with 181-hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, while the 328Li features a 2.0L TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder with 241-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The ever-popular 335Li comes with the twin-turbo 3.0L inline-six making 302-hp.
GALLERY: BMW 3-Series LWB
BMW has issued out a statement that its 2012 328i automatic now has a rated highway fuel rating of 33-mpg as opposed to the originally announced 36-mpg.
The EPA reserves the right to validate the fuel economy figures that automakers submit through their own testing and reporting. Most of the time, the discrepancy is negligible – maybe a 1-mpg difference – but this time the EPA fuel economy figures has the new 3-Series automatic at 3-mpg (highway) less than BMW’s reported figures. City mileage also drops one tick to 23 mpg.
Of course this comes as a shock to BMW (surprise, surprise) and the German automaker is currently working to determine how it was possible. Unfortunately for them, the EPA doesn’t allow for re-testing this year, so BMW has done their due diligence in updating all of its 2012 3-Series automatic information to reflect the 33-mpg highway rating.
Even though it’s quite the hit to its numbers, the BMW 3-Series’ 33-mpg highway rating still bests all its rivals within the segment.
Those who opt for the six-speed manual will see fuel economy unchanged at 23/34.
The 2012 Women’s World Car of the Year short list has just been announced, and women motoring writers from around the world will begin voting for their top picks.
Cutting a list of contenders from 300 down to 32, judges will now allocate points to the nominated cars that fall into four categories: Family Car, Luxury Car, Sports Car and Economy Car. Just one of the 10 criteria that cars are allotting points for is Child Friendliness, which is something vehicles aren’t usually judged on in a competition.
Winners of the 2012 Women’s World Car of the Year will be announced before the end of March, and awards will be presented at the Paris Motor Show in September. You can check out the complete short list after below.
The BMW wagon is known as the 3-Series touring in Europe and is slated to come to North America, although dates haven’t been announced. The last generation 5-Series touring sold poorly here, so the 3-Series wagon is BMWs latest attempt to make a German station wagon popular on American soil.
The spy photos show the wagon almost completely without camouflage, the only part of the car remaining covered being the back end. The nose sports the new 3-series styling with the classic circular headlights getting stretched out a bit giving the car a little more aggression in the looks department.
The new 3-series debuted at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show with three engine options, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder which delivers 240 hp, a 3.0L six cylinder engine which puts out 300 hp and also a hybrid option which is mated with the six cylinder for a combined 340 hp. We can’t be sure what engines the wagon will get, but odds are it will offer all three and possibly a diesel in the future.