AutoGuide News Blog
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.
A battle that almost seems to have fought it self, selling diesel cars in the U.S. used to be little more than a fool’s errand for most automakers, but that is quickly changing with companies competing to catch up with the trend.
Mid way through its product cycle the 2013 GLK has received a nip-tuck from the styling department at Mercedes-Benz. It has also receive one very major change.
While the 3.5-liter V6 engine does now boast a slight increase in power, Mercedes announced at the car’s unveiling at the New York Auto Show that it will offer a diesel engine option in the compact crossover.
For more on the GLK250 BlueTEC diesel, watch AutoGuide’s first look video below.
GALLERY: 2013 Mercedes GLK
Watch the video below:
Positioned as a Subaru Outback competitor, the Volkswagen Alltrack concept is virtually identical to the Passat Alltrack displayed at the Tokyo Motor Show last November, which is headed for Summer delivery in some overseas markets.
While station wagons have historically seen little success in the North American market, the Volvo XC70 and the Subaru Outbacks are exceptionally popular. Both featuring mild styling and more ground clearance than other station wagons. Now, Volkswagen is also betting that wagons with a dash of rugged aesthetics just might be the recipe for popularity.
The Alltrack Concept features a 4Motion system that offers an off-road mode that functions at speeds below 18 mph to allow variable calibrations on vehicle systems including stability control for a milder, more progressive throttle response in low traction situations. Hill descent control also automatically engages to approach downhill slopes exceeding grades of 10 percent. Thanks to a 1.2-inch raise in ride height, approach and departure angles for the Alltrack concept are 16 degrees and 13.6 degrees, respectively, with a 12.8 break over angle in between. Under normal driving, the 4Motion sends about 90 percent power to the front wheels but can give 100 percent to the rear when necessary.
Power will come from the 2.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, producing 140 hp and 236 lb-ft. of torque, mated to a six-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox.
Volkswagen emphasized that production on the Alltrack has yet to be confirmed but a positive response at next week’s New York Auto Show is more than likely to cement the possibility of a production model.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Alltrack Concept
If there’s an age old adage in motorsports, then it has got to be “racing improves the breed.” This idea is particularly close to Audi‘s heart, as the German automaker has participated in decades of racing and development for its Quattro all-wheel-drive technology.
This year, Audi will field a pair of R18 e-tron Quattro cars which will compete in a series of endurance races including the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans. The added e-tron designation on the new R18 refers to an all-new hybrid system for Audi’s LMP1 racer. Featuring a V6 TDI diesel powerplant sending 510-hp to the rear wheels and an additional pair of electric motors to motivate the front, the R18 e-tron Quattro is, without a doubt, one of the most technologically advanced racing cars in the world.
Despite some of the lineup having off-road capability, Volkswagens in North America rarely sport off-road tires.
The same isn’t true in Europe where the German automaker sells its Amarok pickup truck which has serious off-road prowess. VW chose the 2012 Geneva Auto Show to debut its Amarok Canyon concept, which is a beefed up version of the pickup.
It sits on Mickey Thompson all-terrain tires and a 1.6-inch lifted suspension that give the truck a total 3.4 inches of extra ground clearance over the standard model. Tough-looking 18-inch wheels painted “Adamantium Dark” add further to the truck’s muscular appearance.
Other accenting features add more to that theme, like the tubular roll bar that runs along the bed and over the cab.
Unlike American pickups, the Amarok drivetrain is influenced by European sensibility with a 180-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder twin-turbo-diesel instead of the large engines most North American trucks of similar size have.
The bed is small but functional, with lots of tie-down handles available for securing goods. Realistically, the Amarok Canyon isn’t meant for the same construction site work horse life of an F-150 or the like. It’s crew cab setup and shorter-than-average short box are more designed for ferrying passengers between kayaking trips, which is probably why the concept shown above had that equipment in the bed.
In keeping with the European mentality, the Amarok is available with a six speed manual. That might throw most American truck buyers a curve ball, but it doesn’t matter because this truck isn’t meant for the U.S. market. The Amarok Canyon is still a concept but a more practically oriented version may be available as early as this summer to Europeans.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Amarok Canyon concept
The Chevrolet Cruze Diesel made a nice dent in the European, Asian, African, and South American markets last year selling 33,000 units. Now, the popular diesel option will make its way into the U.S., trying to ride on the success wave it is already experiencing worldwide.
The diesel engine that will power the Cruze is being developed at GM’s design center in Torino, Italy, with input coming daily from the GM engineers in Pontiac, Michigan. A truly global design team, GM engineers in Russelsheim, Germany are also working on building some specialized components for the engine like the accessory drive and acoustic cover.
The U.S. market has a different way of looking at diesels, with the notion that diesel motors are only meant for big rigs and tractors. The global design approach will help the new diesel powertrain excel in the American market says GM, as the Europeans know how to build a great diesel engine, and the Americans know how it needs to look, sound and smell to appeal to the U.S. consumer.
“The market for diesel cars in the U.S. is small at present, but is expected to grow due to Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements and expected increases in gas prices,” said Mike Omotoso, a powertrain analyst at LMC Automotive. “So far, the German automakers haven’t had any diesel car competition in North America. GM could do well with it, particularly with younger buyers who don’t have the old prejudices against diesel.”
The diesel Cruze will be available in 2013, and will be an interesting venture for GM, being the first of the big three to offer a diesel option in the USA in a family sedan. “In terms of outward appearances, the difference between the diesel and gasoline engine is going to be difficult to discern,” says Mike Siegrist, 2.0L diesel assistant chief engineer.
Discuss this story at CruzeTalk.com
With the newest version of VW’s iconic Beetle already on sale, Volkswagen is expanding the car’s product range and appeal with a diesel powered model.
Unveiled today at the Chicago Auto Show, the Beetle TDI makes use of a familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged engine to make 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. Along with that big torque number, fuel economy is high, with a 29 mpg city rating and a 39 mpg highway rating. Buyers can choose from either a six-speed manual or VW’s DSG dual-clutch automatic.
Three trim levels will be offered: TDI, TDI with sunroof and TDI with Sunroof, Sound and Navigation. That top-trim level gets a five-inch touch screen and a Premium audio system.
With both gas and diesel versions of the coupe now available, look for a convertible version to bow at the New York Auto Show in a few months time.
GALLERY: 2013 VW Beetle TDI
Pricing and equipment details for the 2013 X6 M50d from BMW that won’t be coming stateside are now available.
Don’t fret too much, though. Oil burners aren’t as popular here, at least not yet, and the X6 M which you can have is pretty much the blue print for the euro-only SAV.
The standard equipment list for the M-powered diesel includes 19-inch brakes up front and 18′s in the rear, the same as its gas-powered brother. The X6 will also have an M Servotronic system which will adjust steering sharpness, as well as the X6 M’s adjustable suspension.
The same 20-inch M wheels are also present, in their double spoke glory.
Beyond that, drivers may opt to pay a premium and have the speed limiter removed, allowing for a top speed of 171 mph, which is substantial in any car, let alone a diesel.
BMW individual leather is also an option, though we’re usually more focused on what’s under the hood when it comes to M cars from the world-class Bavarian Motor Works. Oh, and it costs €85,800, which is just over $113,000 U.S.
Maseratis exude power, style and sex appeal. They do not, on the other hand, evoke anything close to the unrefined image of a diesel engine. Or at least they haven’t in the past.
According to a report by AutoBild, Maserati is making a smaller version of its yet-to-be-release Quattroporte luxury sedan and it seems the Italian automaker plans to package it with a V6 diesel, a first for the company.
Wait! Don’t reach for the barf bag just yet. The oil burner is actually supposed to make 300 horsepower and 516 ft-lbs of torque, not too bad for a car that’s supposed to be somewhat smaller than the automakers usual preference.
There’s no official name tag on this one yet, but it’s being called the ““Maseratina” for now and will probably try to stack up next to the likes of the BMW M5, or Audi S6. Those might seem like a couple of tall glasses to fill for engines that notoriously top out ahead of the game, but we’re excited nonetheless.
[Source: AutoBild via GT Spirit]
Audi is introducing their new line of bi-turbo diesel engines that will make their way into several A6 cars and the A7 Sportback.
Those included in the list are the A6 sedan, A6 Avant, Allroad Quattro and A7 Sportbacks. Next spring U.K. customers can look forward to those cars sporting the option of Audi’s most powerful V6 diesel to date. The 3.0-liter bi-turbo oil burner will have 309 horsepower and 479 ft-lb of torque. That will be enough to propel the A6 Quattro from 0-60 mph in just 5.1 seconds, while the A6 Avant and A7 will get there in 5.3.
There isn’t any news on those cars making their way across the ocean just yet, but Audi did well in the U.K. last year, selling 14 percent more vehicles than they did the previous year. Audi says part of their plan to continue that upward trend is to invest more money in new products for what looks like a hungry market.
While this is little more than speculation, it doesn’t seem that outlandish that Audi might decide to bring those products to market in North America. An A6 diesel has long been rumored for the US, but the date keeps scooting out of sight.
Hopefully the new engine will sell well in the U.K. and encourage Audi to expand its distribution. That said, we won’t be surprised if it takes a long time or just doesn’t happen at all. Afterall, we’re still staring at the A1 with envy as the clock ticks by. There’s also already a diesel engine being sold in the US, albeit one with only 225 horsepower, sold in the Q7, and soon to be available in the Q5 CUV and A8 sedan.
Out photographers have snapped several spy photos of the upcoming Mazda6 undergoing testing in the frozen European north. Underneath this current-generation body there’s plenty of new equipment to evaluate, from an all-new Skyactiv chassis and suspension system, right down to the engine and a start-stop system mated to an innovative regenerative braking system.
The next-gen Mazda6 will look nothing like this mule, which sports a chopped-up body similar to the prototypes we’ve already driven. Instead, it will share the swooping lines of the Takeri Concept car, unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Mazda has confirmed north America will get a diesel engine in early 2013, but hasn’t confirmed which model it will arrive in yet.
Look for the debut of the new Mazda6 next fall at the Paris Motor Show.
GALLERY: 2013 Mazda6 Test Mule
GALLERY: Mazda Takeri Concept
Those eagerly awaiting the launch of a diesel Mazda finally have some solid news about the oil-burner’s arrival in the U.S. According to the latest reports, Mazda is planning to have its diesel model on sale in early 2013 – just around 12 months away.
The arrival date of the new Skyactiv-D powered Japanese car was confirmed by spokesman Jeremy Barnes.
What has yet to be revealed is exactly what model will receive the diesel powerplant, although speculation is that the new CX-5 crossover will get the nod, while cars like the Mazda 3 and 6 could follow.
The 2.2-liter four-cylinder is capable of around 160 hp with over 300 lb-ft of torque, handily besting VW’s TDI mill. Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the Skyactiv-D engine, however, is that while it delivers excellent torque at low rpm it doesn’t fall on its face as the revs rise. In fact, it redlines at 5200 rpm, as opposed to 4500 rpm in most diesel engines, delivering more of that Mazda zoom-zoom quality.
GALLERY: 2012 Mazda CX-5
For more on the Mazda Skyactiv-D diesel engine see here, or watch our video on the new technology below.
The CUV will sell under the 2013 model year, probably with a 2.1-liter diesel engine making 204 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. The engine, which is already approved under U.S. emissions standards, is almost a third smaller than what the company offers in the rest of its diesel lineup: the E, S, M, R and GL Class models. The news about Mercedes’ latest diesel decision was confirmed to Automotive News at the recent Detroit Auto Show. The new GLK will come with a host of new features and smoother lines than the previous model (pictured above).
Diesel engines are proving to be a popular choice for German auto manufacturers. Volkswagen has long been known for offering a diesel variant on many of their cars. Porsche, which they own, will also be sending a diesel Cayenne stateside. BMW also already sells a diesel 3-Series and X5.
Thanks to higher compression ratios, cars burning diesel can offer significantly better mileage, and have especially noticeable torque. That means they pull hard from a stop sign or traffic light. The downside is that they have a relatively low top speed and comparatively weak horsepower, though neither of those things are particularly relevant to most daily drivers. The only other problem is that diesel is more expensive than gasoline, lightly offsetting the cost-to-benefit ratio.
Nonetheless, Mercedes is proving that they have faith in the technology and so far that faith seems well founded. They are expecting sales figures for the GLK to reach the “high 30′s” compared to last year’s 24,310 units, according to Mercedes’ U.S. chief Steve Cannon.
[Source: Automotive News]
US diesel sales rose 27.4-percent in 2011 while hybrid sales dropped 2.2-percent, numbers that reflect a changing automotive climate in America and fly in the face of conventional stereotypes about diesel cars.
But thanks to offerings from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and the Volkswagen Group, diesel-powered passenger vehicle sales are on the rise in America. The 2.2-percent decrease in hybrid sales is, however, a little bit misleading, due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the floods in Thailand. Both those natural disasters affected the production and availability of America’s most popular hybrids, including Toyota‘s Prius.
Nonetheless, expectations are high for diesel sales with Baum and Associates stating that sales could more than double from 3-percent of the market today to 6- to 6.5-percent by 2015. J.D. Power & Associates believes the US diesel market share could increase to 7.4-percent by 2017.
To aid in the projections, American and Japanese automakers are also expected to introduce diesel variants of their models in North America including GM’s new Cadillac ATS, as well as the Chevrolet Cruze, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Mazda CX-5.
Rather, Porsche will confirm that later this year it will begin sales of a diesel version of its top seller, the Cayenne SUV. Pricing has yet to be announced, but the luxury SUV (which is already on sale in other markets) is powered by a 3.0-liter V6, making 245 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque, and is capable of a 0-60 time of 7.6 seconds.
Last year Porsche Cayenne sales in the U.S. accounted for 55.6 percent of total sales.
GALLERY: Porsche Cayenne Diesel
Sharing the stage at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show with an all-new SL for 2013 will be two new Mercedes-Benz products designed to deliver heightened fuel economy. Both cars will be based on the current E-Class and both will be hybrids, but that’s where the similarities end.
Up first is the E300 BlueTec Hybrid, using a version of the Mercedes 2.1-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder. That engine makes 201 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque and will come mated to an electric motor producing 27 hp and 184 lb-ft with a lithium-ion battery pack holding the charge. The result will be a 0-62 mph time of 7.5 seconds and an all-electric range of about a mile at speeds below 35 mph. Mercedes is targeting a fuel economy rating in the high 60 mpg range, although that’s on the generous European cycle.
In addition, Mercedes will unveil the E400 gasoline hybrid using the brand’s 3.5-liter V6 and the same electric motor to deliver roughly 32.4 mpg on the U.S. EPA cycle.
As Honda and Toyota soldier on with the same old designs, Mazda has taken heed of the attractively styled products coming out of Korea these days and decided to fire back. Using the brand’s new Kodo design language the Takeri Concept is a look at the next-generation Mazda6. Based on an all-new platform and powered by a diesel engine it’s also the first example of a Mazda vehicle using the brand’s new i-ELOOP regenerative braking technology.
GALLERY: Mazda Takeri Concept
For more on the Takeri concept, watch the video below: